DICK ADVOCAAT says Sunderland’s winning streak against Newcastle United has to be treated as ancient history this weekend.
Sunderland are aiming for five-in-a-row against the Magpies at the Stadium of Light on Sunday - a run of victories which would match the derby record set by Newcastle nine years ago.
But Advocaat - who like his two predecessors Paolo Di Canio and Gus Poyet faces a derby in his second game at the helm - is only concerned by the present, as he aims to register his first points as Sunderland head coach.
Advocaat said today: “I know for the media it’s important, but I think that was in the past.
“I don’t care for what happened in the past.
“We have to do it now. That’s the most important thing.
“It’s a home game and that has to be an advantage for us.
“If we show our fans that we are really desperate for a result, I’m sure they will stay behind us.”
Advocaat has eight games to secure Sunderland’s Premier League status, with just a point separating the Black Cats from third bottom Burnley - who could leapfrog their fellow strugglers earlier on Sunday afternoon.
And he says that if there is a derby-esque attitude from his players in each of those eight games, then Sunderland should be fine in the relegation dogfight.
“If we go into every game thinking it will be a derby, then we will do well,” he added.
“Commitment-wise, it will be positive and that is always the start.
“I said that at West Ham as well, that we need to do something as a team and unit and try to get a result.
“The commitment was there at West Ham, although football-wise, we still need to improve a lot.
“But hopefully if the commitment stays and the way we plays get better and the players get used to the way we train, we have a good feeling about it.”