LONDON • Dick Advocaat's growing disenchantment with life at Sunderland is reaching the stage where it would be no surprise if he decided to resign.
Much depends on whether the club's owner Ellis Short strengthens the squad before next week's transfer deadline.
"I am not happy at all," said Sunderland's manager ahead of yesterday's League Cup tie against Exeter City.
"We have to improve and we can only improve if we get some other players in. We really need two or three more players."
It is clear that the former Netherlands manager is not exactly delighted with his current personnel.
Instead of watching the ball and the man, sometimes they were sleeping and you don't know why.
DICK ADVOCAAT, criticising his Sunderland defenders
DON'T BUY CHEAP
Some people still believe in numbers, instead of quality. But a player of that calibre - £8 million to £10 million, you know what they bring.
After abject surrenders at Leicester and at home to Norwich in the season's opening games, Sunderland improved in their 1-1 draw with Swansea on Saturday.
"The last line (the defence) has to improve," he said. "We put them together this morning (in training) and the cooperation on some set pieces was very poor.
"Instead of watching the ball and the man, sometimes they were sleeping and you don't know why."
When Advocaat was asked if the current team were capable of avoiding relegation and enjoying a Cup run, there was a long pause.
"Do I have to give an answer to that?" he said. "I think it will be very difficult. Last year, we were lucky to stay up. Almost every other team is improving if you see the investments they have made, especially to the front line - there is mammoth improvement."
The Black Cats secured survival on the final day of last season and Advocaat had decided to retire with a bang.
But he was persuaded to sign a one-year deal after promises of a large transfer kitty.
Now, however, he is concerned by Short's enthusiasm for shopping in the bargain basement.
Jeremain Lens, an £8.5 million (S$19 million) signing from Dynamo Kiev, shone against Swansea, as did Yann M'Vila, who is on loan from Rubin Kazan.
But the other summer signings - Adam Matthews (£2 million from Celtic), Younes Kaboul (£3 million from Tottenham) and Sebastian Coates (£2 million from Liverpool) - have yet to impress.
"In the last 20 minutes against Swansea, Lens showed what you get if you buy a player for that price," Advocaat said.
"All the other players are bargains. Some people still believe in numbers, instead of quality. But a player of that calibre - £8 million to £10 million, you know what they bring."