Dick Advocaat faces his toughest job at Sunderland

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Today Sunderland confirmed the appointment of Dick Advocaat as their new manager until the end of the season.

The heralded Dutch coach has won trophies all over the world, but keeping the north-east club in the Premier League is perhaps his biggest challenge yet.

Having won two SPL titles, two Scottish Cups and a League Cup at Rangers, the Dutchman is well known on these shores. He has since beaten his former club in the final of the UEFA Cup in 2008, while manager of Zenit St. Petersburg after winning the Russian domestic league.

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During his spell with PSV Eindhoven in the Nineties he won the Dutch Cup and League.

However many trophies Advocaat has won in other leagues is no guarantee that he will be successful in his immediate task of keeping Sunderland in the Premier League.

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Sunderland may fear previous examples

In February 2014 Fulham appointed heralded German manager Felix Magath in order to similarly keep a talented group of players in the top flight.

Despite managing Bayern Munich to two consecutive Bundesliga titles, and one more with VFL Wolfsburg in 2009 during his managerial career, Magath failed miserably in his task at Fulham and was duly dismissed himself in September with only a 20 per cent win ratio to his name.

Part of the problem at Fulham seemed to be that the side lacked team spirit towards the end of the season. It is a problem we have seen with Sunderland this season. They have lost 8-0 to Southampton this season and their form has remained stale since. At least they did not suffer the indignity of being hammered in front of their home fans, until Gus Poyet's last game in charge.

That changed when despite playing a side that have registered the lowest goal tally in the Premier League, Aston Villa, Sunderland went in at half time 4-0 down having produced a listless display.

Most of Sunderland's fans had already left the ground at that point, the ones who stayed were largely merciless. Boos rang around the ground and some fans attempted to storm the dugout in anger at what they had seen. It was hard to blame them.

Winners in the side

Sunderland have winners in their side. Wes Brown and John O'Shea won seven and five Premier League medals respectively and a host of other medals during their time at Manchester United.

Adam Johnson, despite being involved in a scandal off the pitch, has won the Premier League and FA Cup while at Manchester City. Emanuele Giaccherini won two Serie A titles at Juventus but has not replicated anywhere near the kind of form that was expected of him when he signed.

Jermain Defoe and Steven Fletcher are recognised goalscorer, but both are currently struggling. You look through the Sunderland roster and it is almost unthinkable to think that they may go down, but the Championship is where their current momentum is sending them.

Part of the problem may have been Poyet himself, having been bizarrely involved in a fracas with Hull manager Steve Bruce in a recent fixture, the Uruguayan was sent to the stands by the referee. It is hardly the example that his players will want to see.

Advocaat must find a way to turn around the club's fortunes by rebuilding his players' shattered confidence. As a manager it is his toughest task yet.

Will Advocaat keep Sunderland in the Premier League? Have your say in the comments below!

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