Bullish Di Canio faces press

Paolo Di Canio deflected questions about his politics and insisted he would bet "everything he has" on his ability to keep Sunderland in the Premier League.

Last Updated: 02/04/13 at 16:51 Post Comment

Paolo Di Canio: 'I have fire in my belly'

Paolo Di Canio: 'I have fire in my belly'

The Italian was facing the media for the first time since he was named on Sunday as successor to Martin O'Neill, who was sacked just 24 hours earlier.

Di Canio's appointment prompted a day of tumult as he was forced to defend allegations of racism and fascism amid concern from fans, anti-racism campaigners and even board members. David Miliband, the former Foreign Secretary, resigned as the club's vice-chairman over the new manager's "past political statements".

The 44-year-old made raised-arm saluted to fans of Lazio in 2005, before reportedly telling an Italian news agency: "I am a fascist, but not a racist".

Di Canio's political persuasion remained on the agenda at Tuesday's press conference but the former Swindon boss was in bullish mood when asked about the media scrutiny - and then his new squad's chances of staying up.

"I am coming to a big club, I was prepared (for the attention) to be honest," Di Canio said.

"I don't want to talk any more about politics for one reason because I'm not in the House of Parliament, I'm not a political person, I will talk about only football.

"I have massive respect for people's opinions but I don't care about what I read, not because I'm arrogant but because I know who I am and because I know I am capable of doing my job properly.

"I have said many, many words in the past and people have picked the words they wanted. My life speaks for me so there is no need to speak any more about this situation because it's ridiculous and pathetic."

Sunderland are perilously placed just a point above the drop zone following a winless run of eight games but Di Canio spoke boldly of his confidence they will survive.

"When I got the call from (chairman) Ellis Short, I felt fire in my belly! I would have swam to Sunderland to take the job," he added.

"Press like to call me the mad Italian, but I would confidently bet everything I have on Sunderland remaining in the top flight.

"With my energy I'm sure we can get something from the next seven games. I hope my ways give the team more confidence on the pitch.

"The players worked very hard in my first training session. My arrival is good motivation for them."

The right man

Di Canio's appointment has divided opinion among the Sunderland supporters but the Italian is confident he will win them over.

He said: "At Swindon, there were many people that couldn't believe Di Canio was the right man for the club.

"After two months, at the end of the game 9,000 people were there, clapping the players and singing my name.

"I don't expect the Sunderland fans to sing my name because it's more important they sing the names of the players."

Di Canio has made it clear that he expects a lot from his players and has suggested that he will look to gradually evolve the side to try and give Sunderland more of a cutting edge.

He said: "I'm a coach, I'm a teacher on the pitch, I'm not a typical manager. That's why I have the title of head coach.

"I'm not here to make a revolution. But there'll be no extra days off. There's work to do!

"There will be changes but I don't want to shock the players - that will come later!

"We need to score goals. I won't change the team around straight away but I must say, I like my teams in a 4-4-2 formation."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

t's why Mourinho is so successful. He gives players a specific, limited set of functions to perform. They are but a cog in a machine. Do no more, do no less. I assume he learnt it from LvG :)

red_devil83
Fellaini Has Politely Become Undroppable

I

really hope that someone in the mainstream media spots that the Bayern manager played for and managed Barcelona quite well, and thinks to mention it in the build up. That would be really interesting.

megabrow (cufc)
Barcelona to face Bayern

Y

our gob says one thing, Brendan, the results say something else.

balls-to-monty
Rodgers bullish over Anfield future

Footer 365

League Two round-up: Tranmere and Cheltenham relegated to Conference

Shrewsbury secured promotion to League One by beating Cheltenham, whose relegation fate was sealed along with Tranmere.

Man City 3-2 Aston Villa: Brad Guzan drops howler before Fernandinho strikes late as City go second

Fernandinho struck in the 89th minute to hand Manchester City a dramatic 3-2 victory over Aston Villa in the Premier League.

League One round-up: Preston forced to wait for promotion party

Preston took a huge step towards promotion with a 3-0 win over Swindon, but MK Dons kept up the pressure with a victory.

Mail Box

Chelsea Millions Should Buy Better...

For the money they have spent, Chelsea should be playing like the Harlem Globetrotters rather than Atletico. We have mails on Cesc, Brendan Rodgers and...

Brendan Rodgers Is David Cameron...

Rodgers is compared to the Prime Minister, insomuch as he has a right to peddle bulls**t, apparently. Plus why comparing Arsene Wenger to Diego Simeone is a mug's game...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company