Di Canio shrugs off key absences

Paolo Di Canio is confident Sunderland can still score goals despite not being able to call upon key players.

Last Updated: 03/05/13 at 13:19 Post Comment

Paolo Di Canio is confident Sunderland can still score goals despite losing top marksmen Steven Fletcher and Stephane Sessegnon for the remainder of the season.

Fletcher was ruled out of the final eight games of the campaign after damaging ankle ligaments on international duty with Scotland in March, while the red card Sessegnon picked up at Aston Villa on Monday evening means he will sit out the clashes with Stoke, Southampton and Tottenham as the Black Cats look to end their relegation fears.

Between them, the pair have scored 18 Premier League goals this season, a little short of half the 39 the team has managed in total, and with January signing Danny Graham still to open his account, there is a genuine concern over how they are going to get themselves out of trouble.

However, Di Canio is convinced there is still strike-power within his squad as he prepares for Monday night's home clash with Stoke.

He said: "I don't talk about Stephane because he is out, I will focus my attention on my [remaining] players.

"We have enough quality to score goals to win games, especially because we play at home, which is really important.

"It means 39,000, 40,000 people are pushing for the players, which gives them extra adrenaline and motivation to give their best.

"We have quality. Danny Graham hasn't scored yet, but now I am sure the time has come when he will score because in the next few games, he will be crucial.

"We have Adam Johnson who is able of scoring. We have different ways to damage the opponent, so I am not worried, to be honest.

"I am not the kind of manager who cries - obviously I would like to have all my players available and many options.

"But it's not possible and we are going to find a way to damage the opponent.

"I won't tell you now if we are going to change formation, if we change the system, but we are going to put on the field the best team we can to win the game and get three points."

Such is Sunderland's lack of specialist strikers - 20-year-old Connor Wickham is currently sidelined by a calf injury - that they launched an appeal against Sessegnon's dismissal for a challenge on Villa's Yacouba Sylla, although one which always looked doomed.

It was rejected by an independent regulatory commission, much to Di Canio's chagrin, and he has spent the days since working on a plan to plug the yawning gap in his attacking resources.

Sunderland will start the weekend five points clear of the relegation zone despite Monday's 6-1 drubbing at Villa Park, but know their situation could have worsened by the time they kick off against the Potters at the Stadium of Light.

It will be their second successive Monday night fixture, but Di Canio believes that can only be an advantage at this stage of the season.

He said: "It's an advantage, not a disadvantage, because if we are talking about what is going on on Saturday, if Wigan win, if Villa win, if Newcastle win, we have to win anyway; if they lose, we have to win anyway.

"Just because we fell in a trap the week before, I don't think we are so stupid.

"Whatever happens to the others, we are not going to underestimate this game because this slap was too much.

"Now we have a big, big scar showing on our body which reminds us if we play like that, we can have another one.

"We are not masochistic people, so I am sure we are going to perform properly.

"It doesn't mean that we are going to win 3-0, it means we are going to perform in terms of commitment, desire, concentration, dedication like we did against Everton and Newcastle. That's for sure."

Meanwhile, Sunderland confirmed today that chief scout Bryan "Pop" Robson is to leave the club with immediate effect.


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

m not sure about this distance covered malarky, plus that stat comes with *since February attached to it, that's just 1 month. I mean I have 27 open cases I'm 'working on' at the moment but believe me others with 10 cases work harder than I do. I just got back from a pub lunch, scampi and chips (+4 pints) in case you were wondering.

hurler
Wenger defends Ozil

C

isse should have appealed and explained that it was just a retaliation, just like Matic did. Apparently the FA are ok with retaliation.

Triangler
Cisse accepts FA charge

L

ove this guy. He's one of the few surviving players that I remember so vividly from Football Italia and Gazetta on Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons.

HarryBoulton
Francesco Totti - The King Of Rome

Footer 365

Mesut Ozil defended by Arsene Wenger after Paul Scholes criticism

Arsene Wenger claims Paul Scholes "would have loved to play with Mesut Ozil".

Football Association names Martin Glenn as its new chief executive

The Football Association has named Martin Glenn as its new chief executive.

Manchester United's Jonny Evans denies spitting charge after incident with Papiss Cisse

Manchester United's Jonny Evans has denied the FA's spitting charge following the incident with Newcastle's Papiss Cisse.

Mail Box

Why All The Hate For Robin Van Persie?

One Mailboxer can't work out why everyone is having a pop at Robin van Persie. Plus FA Cup anticipation, changing relegation, a Friday song and more Totti love...

Is Sissoko's Neck Very Distinctive?

Moussa Sissoko features in a really quite bizarre Distinctive Physical Features XI while we have mails on sexism, Angel Di Maria and Francesco Totti. Ramdom.

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