herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

Advocaat has belief in Cats to avoid the drop

Dick Advocaat is confident Sunderland can keep themselves up after seeing them rekindle their Premier League survival bid with victory over Southampton.

The delighted Dutchman looked on as Jordi Gomez converted two penalties to secure a 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light and three points which proved vital on an afternoon when Leicester and Aston Villa also boosted their chances of escaping the drop.

Sunderland remain in the bottom three but just two points adrift of 14th-placed Villa, and asked if there was enough in the dressing room to get the club out of trouble, Advocaat replied with a smile: "Yes, definitely - I'm there. And 18 players.

"We have to believe in it. What is it - five games we have played now? Seven points? There are still four to go.

"Everything is still open. We have still everything in our own hands, and that's the most important thing."

The home side took a 21st-minute lead when Gomez dispatched his first spot-kick after Jose Fonte had caught striker Danny Graham in the face with a flailing boot, but squandered it within seconds as keeper Costel Pantilimon collided with defenders Sebastian Coates and John O'Shea to present Sadio Mane with the easiest of chances to level. Gomez was handed a second opportunity from 12 yards 10 minutes after the break when James Ward-Prowse bundled Jermain Defoe to the ground.

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