Stadium of Light

Next Game

S'land v Newcastle

Sunday, 05 April 2015, 16:00

Barclays Prem

Upton Park

Last Game

West Ham 1 - 0 S'land

Saturday, 21 March 2015, 17:30

Barclays Prem

Di Canio hits back at O'Neill

Paolo Di Canio has defended his record as Sunderland manager and furiously denied accusations from Martin O'Neill that he was a "charlatan".

Last Updated: 16/11/13 at 00:24 Post Comment

Paolo Di Canio: Critical of players' fitness levels

Paolo Di Canio: Critical of players' fitness levels

The fiery Italian took over from O'Neill at the Stadium of Light in March, but he was sacked in September after the club picked up only one point from their first five games this season.

New Republic of Ireland boss O'Neill branded Di Canio 'a charlatan' earlier this week, but the former Italy international insisted he saved a club that was "already sunk".

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News, Di Canio said: "I don't know if he knows the meaning of this word charlatan. Probably I can teach him, even if I am not English.

"I respect the opinion of manager Martin O'Neill but the fact that he spoke after six months, not straight away, that proves what kind of level he is. He is not very big.

"A charlatan is a manager who spends £40m to be a top 10 club and then sees the club sink into the relegation zone."

Di Canio also stood by his criticism of the condition of the Sunderland players when he took over, describing their fitness levels as "pathetic".

"I had players who told me they had cramps from driving the car," he said. "I had three players with injuries in the calf after 20 minutes of a game. Six different players with problems means they were not fit."

The Italian also hit out at Phil Bardsley after the Sunderland defender claimed Di Canio tried to destroy his career.

Di Canio accused Bardsley of "treason" after he posted a tweet mocking Sunderland following their home defeat to Fulham on the opening day of the season.

"At the beginning of the season, he made tweets celebrating the defeat of the club that pay him," Di Canio added. "A person at the club came to me and said 'we want to fine him', and I agreed.

"He was celebrating, that is the worst treason for the people next to you. It is clear that he tried to destroy his career on his own."

Di Canio also denied claims from striker Steven Fletcher that he did not want the players to smile or laugh.

He added: "Fletcher was never happy when I said, publicly, that after four years in England his record was two relegations, and twice 17th in the table.

"Maybe the players wanted a big screen with a comedy movie. When you have a training session you are there to improve. Maybe there is a moment when you have fun, and they probably had too much fun."

Di Canio has no regrets over his short tenure with Sunderland, and he remains keen to take another job in England with the "right club and the right people".

"The sacking made me stronger," he said. "I am my own worst critic. Sometimes a situation like this gives you a graduation. I think my level was too high for this situation.

"What doesn't kill me makes me stronger. I cannot wait to have another chance in the right place with the right people who let me work my way. Now I am a better manager than before, much better."

Di Canio also insisted that he was keen to take another job in the Premier League or Championship despite hinting he has fielded offers from clubs in Europe.

"Even if I have four requests around Europe, I don't go," he added. "I will wait until the time in England when there is no more space for me. Otherwise, I wait."

Sunderland made 14 new signings during the summer, but Di Canio insisted director of football Roberto De Fanti and chief scout Valentino Angeloni were responsible for all transfer business and claimed he would have wanted more British players.

"I think 80 per cent of the squad should be British footballers," he said. "I don't know why more didn't come, you would have to ask Roberto De Fanti and Valentino.

"They were given power by the chairman. I gave them my opinion, I gave them names, but not one came and I don't know why. The players that did come, I accepted, but obviously they weren't my first choices."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

S

hould have stayed because we carried him for 6.5 years. And then he has a breakthrough season, and was gone soon after. MU fans, you would be as disgusted had C Ronaldo left in 2007 and not 2009.

godof86
Is Van Persie Slipping Sadly Into The Night?

G

ood grief. Someone guessed that the form English player at the moment might be in his national side with some other players? And that's espionage? Now if they discovered that Emile Heskey was going to be in the starting line up.... at right back.... THAT would be espionage. Give it a rest Roy.

RogerRedHat
Hodgson hits out at Kane leak

H

e may get away with if Liverpool can swap the video with one of Skrtel dancing or something, but if they review the one shown on TV he's screwed.

hump3.
Skrtel denies violent conduct

Footer 365

Harry Kane says debut England goal is a 'dream come true'

Harry Kane said his first goal for England was "a dream come true" after he scored 79 seconds into his debut appearance.

Roy Hodgson hails Harry Kane's impact after goal on England debut

Roy Hodgson led the plaudits for Harry Kane after his ‘fairytale’ international debut in England's win over Lithuania.

England 4-0 Lithuania: Harry Kane scores 79 seconds into debut

Harry Kane scored 79 seconds into his England debut from the bench as Roy Hodgson’s men beat Lithuania 4-0.

Mail Box

Where's The Love For Walcott?

Theo Walcott is wanted by neither Arsenal or Liverpool fans in the afternoon Mailbox. Also, some good points on the FA skewed priorities, and glorious geekery...

Ripe Robin Still Has A Role To Play...

There is some support for the aging Robin van Perise in a frankly threadbare Mailbox. Also, more debate over homegrown players, with a suggestion of an import tax...

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