DICK ADVOCAAT has stressed that Sunderland still need to complete the job, despite the Black Cats taking a big step towards Premier League survival with victory at Everton.
Sunderland recorded back-to-back league wins for the first time this season today after deflected goals from Danny Graham and Jermain Defoe saw Advocaat’s side come away with maximum points at Goodison Park.
Advocaat has now taken 10 points from his six games at the helm after being brought in as the short-term successor to Gus Poyet, charged with keeping the club in the Premier League.
Victory in next weekend’s Stadium of Light survival showdown against Leicester could be enough to get Sunderland over the finishing line, yet Advocaat was keeping grounded after the massive win on Merseyside.
Advocaat said: “We still have to do it.
“We are not that far now, but we are really close.
“The club took a risk (on Advocaat) as well, and so hopefully we will do the job properly so we can be happy at the end.
“Today we’ve won. On Monday, we will see.
“But this is a good step.”
Advocaat admitted Sunderland were fortunate after neither Graham or Defoe knew much about their second half goals.
But the head coach felt that was just rewards for Sunderland’s determination and will-to-win, despite Everton monopolising possession.
“It was a not great game from our side, but at the end, it was very attractive and that’s all that counts at the moment, to get a result,” he said.
“But yes, we were lucky.
“Everton outplayed us, but our back five did really well, including the goalkeeper.
“Some of our players played well last week, but they had more problems with Everton.
“But at the end, we have three points.
“They worked very, very hard. The defence were very sharp with everybody and you can see if you have the commitment to give everything, even against a better team, you can still get results.”
Advocaat was pleased for his two goalscorers too.
Graham finally ended his wait for a first Sunderland goal at the 28th time of asking, while Defoe netted his fourth in red and white, despite being again asked to work tirelessly tracking back.
“Danny did really well, he worked hard, he’s a targetman, he heads it, gives the ball back,” added Advocaat.
“It is not his (Defoe) favourite position, but we’re now in a situation where we have to do everything we can to keep the club up.
“He’s doing that and if he scores as well, it gives him a boost.
“He still has the freedom to go into that position up front, it’s not as if he’s a left or right winger, he can come inside.”