Steven Fletcher on how Dick Advocaat is coping with the mounting pressure at Sunderland

The Dutchman has endured a torrid start to his first full season in charge of the Black Cats.

Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher has revealed in the Echo how Dick Advocaat has handled the mounting pressure at the Stadium of Light.

The Black Cats sit bottom of the Premier League table after picking up just two points from their first eight games, and the prospect of a relegation dogfight is quickly becoming a reality.

Their latest defeat came in abject fashion at Old Trafford on Saturday, and the manner of the recent losses will be as concerning as the results for Advocaat.

Despite their woeful form, the Dutchman has stressed the importance of relaxation to his players as the vital games come thick and fast.

“We always have a talk before training at the start of the week and he just said we need to relax,” said Steven Fletcher, in quotes published by the Sunderland Echo.

“We can’t let it get to us on the pitch. You can see that ability in training, but we need to take into the weekend as well.

“We need to start winning games, everybody realises that. If we don’t do that, then we’ll find ourselves falling away.”

Sunderland’s next three fixtures – against West Ham United, West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United – fall into the category of ‘winnable’ but as is the case in the Premier League, there are no easy fixtures.

A response of some sort is needed soon if the Black Cats are to have any hope of turning their season around, and Fletcher is looking to this weekend’s clash with the Hammers to do just that, adding:

“...the boys are still upbeat about the place and we need to stay that way.

“If we can get a win before the international break, it would be good for us to go away and have that under our belts.”

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