Sunderland in no rush

Sunderland will take their time to find the right replacement for Paolo Di Canio after launching the search for his successor.

Last Updated: 23/09/13 at 21:28 Post Comment

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Roberto Di Matteo: In the running for th

Roberto Di Matteo: In the running for th

Sunderland will take their time to make sure they find the right replacement for Paolo Di Canio after launching the search for his successor.

The process of drawing up a shortlist of potential replacements began in earnest on Monday in the wake of the 45-year-old Italian's exit on Sunday night.

However, Press Association Sport understands owner Ellis Short has an open mind about the identity of the club's sixth manager in less than five years and will not rush into an appointment.

Development coach Kevin Ball, who had 10 games at the helm as caretaker boss following Mick McCarthy's departure in March 2006, will take charge of Tuesday night's Capital One Cup third round tie against Peterborough, and could remain in charge for Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Liverpool at the Stadium of Light.

Sky Bet have been quick to install former Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo as an odds-on favourite to replace his compatriot, but Gus Poyet, Alex McLeish and Steve McClaren are currently all featuring prominently in the betting, although Celtic's Neil Lennon has effectively ruled himself out of the running.

The Black Cats have already been contacted by agents offering a series of names to them.

However, while Di Canio and his staff - coach Fabrizio Piccareta, goalkeeping coach Domenico Doardo, fitness coach Claudio Donatelli and physiotherapist Giulio Viscardi - have gone, the new structure under which they operated remains in place.

As a result, the new manager will be expected to work under director of football Roberto De Fanti and chief scout Valentino Angeloni, who presided over the recruitment of 14 summer signings, and that may limit the field somewhat.

In addition, the successful candidate may also have to do without star striker Steven Fletcher for an extended period with the Black Cats waiting for news of the damage caused by the shoulder dislocation he suffered during Saturday's 3-0 defeat at West Brom.

In total, Di Canio's reign extended to 175 days and just 13 games, 12 of them in the league.

Two of his three victories came in last season's Premier League and helped to secure the club's top-flight status and the £70million windfall guaranteed by the new broadcasting deal.

However, former Sunderland defender and current BBC Radio Newcastle pundit Gary Bennett admits the gamble of handing him the reins never really paid off.

Bennett said: "It hasn't paid off. From the start, everybody knew it was a gamble. It was one way or the other it was going to go.

"The question is are you surprised? Not really, you are not shocked."

Di Canio's authoritarian style ultimately proved to be his downfall with his strict regime off the pitch - at its extremes, he banned ketchup and mayonnaise from the training ground and railed about the relaxed relationship between his players and the club's ancillary staff - sowing seeds of discontent.

But it was his public criticism of senior players and his inability to halt a short, but alarming slide which eventually did for him.

Bennett said: "You look at the training regime - fair enough, if that's what you believe in, that's fine; discipline, you have got to have discipline, there's nothing wrong with that, but it's when you take it to the next step; and then you bring in 14 players.

"It always seems to be to the extreme. When you are disciplining three players, bringing in rules about what you can and can't do and who you can and can't speak to...

"Then I think there's only one game when he hasn't made a substitution at half-time. You can get away with it two or three times, but when it's every game near enough, you are thinking 'Why?'."

Martyn McFadden, editor of Sunderland fanzine A Love Supreme, admitted Di Canio would always be remembered fondly for his 3-0 derby victory at Newcastle in just his second game in charge, but admitted his approach had simply not worked.

McFadden said: "I feel the players have turned against him, staged a mini-coup. But I guess only they know what he's like to work with at the end of the day.

"In any job, whether it's in a flower shop or being a millionaire footballer working for a multi-million pound business, if you tell people they are rubbish and abuse them in public, they won't improve their performance.

"He was a drama queen, constantly attracting attention, asking the referee to send him off against Arsenal when we actually had a free-kick in a position where we could have scored a goal and possibly push for a draw in the last couple of minutes.

"It was all about him. He had to be the centre of attention."


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