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Dick Advocaat hopeful competition will improve Sunderland

Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat is optimistic that his side will be able to improve in the Premier League next season due to healthy competition for places in his squad.

Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat has revealed that he is hopeful better competition for places in his squad will inspire the Black Cats to improve next season.

The Wearsiders barely escaped relegation to the Championship as the club managed to secure their top-flight status in the penultimate match of the campaign against Arsenal.

Advocaat has added Sebastian Coates and Adam Matthews to his squad, while John O'Shea and Steven Fletcher are poised to return to training after missing their pre-season win over Darlington due to their exploits playing in internationals games earlier in the summer.

He told the club's official website: "It was important for the international players to have a break because they needed it, but they're back today and there will be more competition so everything feels like it's getting closer and closer which I like to see.

"Everybody has to show to us that they want to play because there will hopefully be more competition in the squad than last year."

Sunderland have been linked with moves to sign Jeremain Lens and Nicolas Lombaerts to further strengthen their team.

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Sunderland's Dutch manager Dick Advocaat reacts during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Sunderland at the Boleyn Ground in Upton Park, East London on March 21, 2015
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