Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce says he wants to prove Dick Advocaat wrong by keeping the struggling team in the Premier League.
Advocaat guided the Black Cats to safety last season but left the Stadium of Light on October 4 following a winless start to the new campaign, claiming the squad was not equipped to stay in the top flight again.
Allardyce was appointed just days later on a two-year deal and the former Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle, Blackburn and West Ham boss is determined to disprove his Dutch predecessor’s gloomy prediction.
“I like a challenge,” Allardyce told Sky Sports.
“When somebody says you can’t do it, I want to do it.
“Dick says we are not going to stay up, I’m going to show him we can.
“I’ve got a steely determination – when somebody says you can’t have something, I have to have it.”
Allardyce has made it a priority to alter the team’s negative mindset after getting used to life at the wrong end of the table under Martin O’Neill, Paolo Di Canio, Gus Poyet and then Advocaat.
“If this is a difficult job it’s because the club has been fighting relegation for four straight years, there is almost a tendency for people to accept that’s the way it is,” he said.
“I have to change that mentality. We want to be out of this by February or March, not waiting until the last six games of the season, that’s not the way forward.”
The new manager will be expected to enter the transfer market in January in search of reinforcements, but Allardyce claimed he did not seek specific assurances from owner Ellis Short over signings prior to accepting the role.
“I said we might need some help, but we never talked about how much or figures,” he said.
“It was a case of saying I don’t know how much we’ve got until I get amongst it. Once I get amongst it maybe we need to find some better players than we already have.
We can’t promise in January that if we are struggling we will find better players.”
Sunderland, having beaten local rivals Newcastle United 3-0 at home last weekend, are away to Everton in the Premier League on Sunday.