Advocaat quits winless Sunderland 8 games into league season

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SUNDERLAND, England (AP) Dick Advocaat has quit struggling Sunderland, becoming the first Premier League manager this season to leave his job.

The experienced Dutch coach stepped down with Sunderland winless after eight league games.

The 68-year-old Advocaat was initially hired on a two-month deal last season and, after saving the team from relegation in May, he had a change of heart and decided to stay for a season. Now he is leaving without compensation.

''I feel it is the right time to do this - not for me, but for the club,'' Advocaat said on the club website on Sunday. ''I have made the decision to go after only eight games as I felt it was important to give everyone time (to) turn things around - like we did last year.''

Sunderland has three points and is only being kept off the bottom of the standings by northeast rival Newcastle on goal difference.

Sunderland threw away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with West Ham on Saturday. Due to the international break there is a two-week gap until Sunderland next plays at West Bromwich Albion on Oct. 17.

Advocaat's successor will be Sunderland's eighth permanent manager since American businessman Ellis Short bought the club in 2008.

''I am truly saddened by Dick's decision, but I respect him for his honesty and for doing what he feels is right for the club,'' Short said. ''He is a man of integrity and a true football person. He was hugely respectful of the club in taking this decision and he acted 100 percent in our best interests.

''It is also testament to his character that he has forgone any kind of a financial settlement, something which is very unusual in football.''

Nicknamed ''the Little General,'' Advocaat has twice coached the Netherlands and had spells with the national teams of United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Belgium, Russia and Serbia.

As a club coach, he celebrated the Scottish league-and-cup double twice in his four years at Rangers from 1998 to 2002 and he has also won league titles in his homeland with PSV Eindhoven and in Russia with Zenit St. Petersburg.