The 67-year-old was unveiled on Friday morning as Guy Poyet’s replacement and the Dutchman??pulled no punches in outlining what was needed to avoid the drop with the first of their remaining nine games at West Ham on Saturday.
With his new team sitting just one point clear of the relegation, Advocaat said: “In principal, every thing you do in football is a challenge and you want??to do as well as possible. But we are now in a situation where we are playing more or less at the bottom of the league, so something has to change.
“The fans need to know something is changing. We need them behind us, they can be our 12th man. We must show them what it means to us.”
However, the Dutchman, who arrived on Wearside after a spell as manager of the??Serbia national team, says he is relishing the challenge of guiding a squad??which faltered alarmingly during the latter weeks of Poyet’s??reign.
He took up the reins on Tuesday and has had three days to work with his players, although he revealed few of them were strangers to him.
Advocaat added: “In Holland, we can see all the games in England – everything??is on television, so I knew the squad, I knew the players, plus the fact that we??have a great stadium and great fans.
“With the support of them, we must do it. I have a good feeling about the??squad after the last three days, so why not?”
The Black Cats are without a win in six league games and seven in all??competitions, a run which has plunged them into a second successive survival??fight.
Advocaat will be desperate to have his top players at his disposal, and he could have at least one more to call upon this weekend after the??club lifted its suspension of winger Adam Johnson as a police investigation into??an allegation of sexual activity with a girl under 16 continues.
Asked if the 27-year-old, who had??been training on his own after the ban was imposed, would be selected for the trip to London, Advocaat said: “What I always do, I pick the squad after the final session.
“We still??have some injuries, we don’t know exactly who will join us. Always after the last training, I will pick the squad so it’s the same for everybody.”