LONDON: Dutchman Dick Advocaat has been appointed manager of Sunderland after the sacking of Gus Poyet with the club one point above the Premier League relegation zone and only nine games of their fading season left.

Advocaat takes over in time for Saturday’s visit to West Ham. The 67-year-old has managed Holland twice, worked for four years at Rangers and left his previous post in charge of Serbia last year.

The Uruguayan has been in charge at the Stadium of Light for 17 months after taking over from Paolo Di Canio but was dismissed after a 4-0 home defeat by Aston Villa on Saturday.

Chairman Ellis Short, in a statement, acknowledged Poyet’s successful fight against the drop last term, as well as an unexpected run to the League Cup final, but expressed disappointment at the lack of subsequent progress.

Short said: “I would like to thank Gus for his endeavours during his time at the club, in particular last season’s ‘great escape’ and cup final appearance, which will live long in the memory of every Sunderland fan.

“Sadly, we have not made the progress that any of us had hoped for this season and we find ourselves battling, once again, at the wrong end of the table. We have therefore made the difficult decision that a change is needed.”

Poyet follows Di Canio, Martin O’Neill, Steve Bruce and Ricky Sbragia in failing to turn around Sunderland’s fortunes in recent years.

His and the club’s season took a turn for the worse in February when he appeared to blame unrealistic expectations among the club’s fans for the ongoing struggles.

Sections of the crowd vocally took against such an implication and Poyet later claimed the media had mis-represented his words.

Worse to come on Saturday when a shambolic first-half display against fellow strugglers Villa saw around half of the 46,000 crowd walk out early.

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