Vergini: Change of coach has boosted Sunderland

Santiago Vergini in action as Sunderland draw 1-1 with Everton at The Stadium Of Light. Picture by FRANK REID
Santiago Vergini in action as Sunderland draw 1-1 with Everton at The Stadium Of Light. Picture by FRANK REID

SANTIAGO Vergini believes Sunderland have yet again benefited from the bounce of a new manager at the helm.

Like Gus Poyet and Paolo Di Canio before him, Dick Advocaat savoured a derby victory in his second game in charge of Sunderland last weekend, with the continuation of that pattern providing a much-needed three points in the battle for Premier League survival.

Too often in the last four years, it has needed a managerial change to propel Sunderland out of their stupor and secure their top-flight status.

It’s a problem Ellis Short remains acutely aware of, with the Sunderland chairman determined for the club to eventually reach an era of managerial stability.

But in the short-term, Advocaat’s appointment has prompted an upturn in performances, with centre-half Vergini – brought to the Stadium of Light by his fellow South American Poyet – admitting that the ex-Holland manager has made an impact.

“Whenever there is a change of coach anywhere, every player’s confidence is given a bit of a boost,” said Vergini.

“It may well have appeared that there has been a change of attitude in the last two matches.”

From a defensive viewpoint, Sunderland have certainly improved under Advocaat.

West Ham – Advocaat’s first opponents as manager three weeks ago – struggled to create chances and only won at the death through a goal which should have been disallowed, while Sunderland registered a first clean sheet in five in last Sunday’s derby.

Vergini and his fellow defenders were clearly delighted by both the shut-out, and victory, against the Magpies – evidenced by the hugs exchanged between the back four and goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon at the final whistle.

But the Argentine international knows standards must be maintained against in-form Crystal Palace tomorrow after Alan Pardew’s men got the better of reigning Premier League champions Manchester City earlier this week.

“The celebration at the end of the game was not just because we had kept a clean sheet, it was really for the victory itself,” added Vergini.

“But of course it is important not to concede goals and, moving forward, I think if we can produce the same performance level then we will have a very good chance in all our games.

“The win against Newcastle has helped us, but we must carry on playing like this in the last seven games.”