4-2-3-1 now more viable, says Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat

Sunderland Stadium of Light

The Dutchman is pleased with his options in attack after a busy summer.

Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat has outlined why his summer business has allowed him to operate a more effective 4-2-3-1 system this season.

The summer transfer window saw the arrivals of attackers Jeremain Lens, Fabio Borini and Ola Toivonen – all of whom started against Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday – and Advocaat feels they are more suited to the system he wants to implement at the Stadium of Light.

“We didn’t really have two attacking midfielders last season, but now we have one (Toivonen) and the other two (Lens and Borini) play a little bit differently,” said Advocaat, in quotes published by the Sunderland Echo.

“Normally in top football, playing with four strikers is too much. I have always learned that… But as long as the wide players do their jobs, then you can do it.”

In Borini and Lens, Advocaat now has two hard-working wide-men willing to track back and put in the required defensive shift.

Last season’s use of Jermain Defoe and Adam Johnson in wide areas left the Black Cats exposed at times, with neither player renowned for their fondness for defending.

The performance against Spurs, however, was a promising defensive display from the team as a whole and the winning goal came only as a Sunderland side lacking in match sharpness tired.

The Black Cats’s next opponents come in the shape of Premier League new boys Bournemouth, and Advocaat will be desperate for all three points with his side currently languishing in 19th place.

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