Jermain Defoe would have had a wry smile at Feyenoord’s recent appoint.
On the 28th of this month, Rangers travel to Rotterdam to face the Eredivisie giants in the penultimate match day, and on top of a hundred other subplots which we shall go into in more detail is the first meeting between Jermain Defoe and new manager Dick Advocaat since the pair’s ill-fated Sunderland days.
Defoe, of course spent some seasons at the Stadium of Light, and famously is quoted as being shoehorned in by Advocaat during the Little General’s spell on Tyneside, whereas alternate manager Sam Allardyce moved hell and high water to build his XI around the ex-England hitman.
And Defoe was not holding back on his withering assessment of the Dutchman’s coaching methods either:
“We are where we are because of the start of the season. We just weren’t good enough – and we weren’t fit enough either. If you look at the fitness stats now – the running stats and the high intensity stats, that side of it – we were so far off, so far off where we are now. Look at the (opening) game against Leicester, we were blown away. It was difficult. Now, it’s like a different team. The first thing the manager said when he came in, we had a meeting and he said, ‘You’re not fit enough’. He said, ‘I’ll get you fit and that’s all you need’ because we’ve got top players and internationals. But if you can’t run, how are you meant to perform for 95 minutes? It’s frustrating but it’s a long season, and it’s been a strange season as well. Now, we just have to stay up and get a decent pre-season because with this group we could really kick on.”
Of course, Allardyce’s win rate with Sunderland was around a reasonable 30% for Sunderland’s needs while Advocaat’s was a simply appalling 21% with just four wins in his time there, so it’s safe to say there’s no love lost between he and Defoe who it’s equally risk free to say did not enjoy his football under the former Rangers manager.
It just adds another dimension to what is a huge matchday 5 in the UEL.