Dick Advocaat insists he is not concerned by his Sunderland side’s friendly defeat to Sacramento Republic on Tuesday.
In what was the Black Cats’ second pre-season run-out, they struggled to find their rhythm as a second half strike saw the hosts take the win.
Although Steven Fletcher did head against the bar in the opening 45, Sunderland generally failed to threaten at Bonney Field in what was the first game of the club’s three-match tour of the USA and Canada.
Results such as Tuesday’s suggest it could be another season of struggle for the Wearsiders but Advocaat insists he is not concerned.
The Dutchman says at this stage of the summer he is only worried about his squad’s fitness and not the way they play.
“Obviously if you lose it’s not good, but for me it’s more about getting in the right shape for the opening game of the Barclays Premier League season against Leicester,” Advocaat told the club’s official website. “A number of the international players have only been back a few days, but we still have another two games here.
“We need to get into better shape and we will get there. The result is never as important in pre-season. The players are training hard and that’s more important than the way we play at the minute.”
Sunderland are currently the 2.75 fourth favourites to go down but will be hoping to get off to a fast start when they meet Leicester on the opening day.
The Black Cats are 4.00 to win the match, with the draw 3.30 and the Foxes 2.00.