Sunderland face a make-or-break two months after today’s trip to Manchester United, believes Dick Advocaat.
Unless Sunderland cause a major upset at Old Trafford, the Black Cats will head into October without a Premier League win to their name for the third season on the spin.
After United, we’ve got seven or eight games coming up when we need to get points from them.
Yet another snail-paced start to the campaign leaves Sunderland facing a battle to preserve their top flight status and Advocaat is well aware of that challenge, with the “magic” 40 point mark looming large for the head coach.
And regardless of the outcome against Manchester United, Advocaat has identified the seven successive subsequent encounters against West Ham, West Brom, Newcastle, Everton, Southampton, Crystal Palace and Stoke during October and November as pivotal.
“After United, we’ve got seven or eight games coming up when we need to get points from them,” said Advocaat.
“And then it is the end of November.”
Not that Advocaat is ruling out any prospect of Sunderland coming away with something for their efforts at Old Trafford.
If Sunderland can cut out the individual defensive errors and enjoy a slice of fortune, Advocaat believes the Black Cats are capable of causing an upset.
“We have nothing to lose at United,” he added.
“Sometimes it can happen. Sunderland won there two years ago.
“The results against United generally over the last few years have not been so positive.
“We have nothing to lose there. If we have good organisation and are sharp, then we can damage them a little bit on the break.
“If you think we have no chance, then we might as well stay at home.
“No, I think we can do something there.”