Sunderland’s Di Canio: No more bad habits!

Paolo Di Canio.
Paolo Di Canio.

PAOLO DI CANIO insists the “revolution” to Sunderland’s playing squad was essential this summer to weed out the bad habits among his troops.

Sunderland have been the most active Premier League side in the transfer market during the close season after adding eight players to the first-team squad, with Di Canio hopeful of landing another three before the transfer window closes.

Eight players have departed the Stadium of Light too – out-of-contract pair Titus Bramble and Matt Kilgallon, loan duo Kader Mangane and Danny Rose, the sales of Simon Mignolet and Ahmed Elmohamady, plus Danny Graham and Alfred N’Diaye leaving on season-long loans.

Di Canio says he has not been shocked that Sunderland have conducted so much business with almost a month of the window still remaining.

And the head coach has been encouraged by the sight of his influx of signings buying into his mentality and eradicating the unprofessional elements that he believes were present at the Academy of Light.

When asked whether he expected so many signings by the start of August, Di Canio told the Echo: “Yes, it was necessary.

“We knew before that we were going to make a revolution.

“Obviously, the numbers were as important as the quality.

“You have to work so hard to understand English football because sometimes on the training sessions, it was soft and not professional.

“Their habits in the past were not good.

“But some of them have proved already that we were right to sign them.

“We have to prove it in a proper game, but I’m sure they will make a big impact in this league.”

Sunderland’s new boys have faced a gruelling schedule under Di Canio since arriving at the Stadium of Light, with the double training sessions continuing at the Academy of Light this week.

But Di Canio has reiterated that Sunderland need to be physically superior to their Premier League peers, if they are to bridge the gap with the top flight’s heavyweights.

“Our team is not one of the top teams, but it is a very good team,” added Di Canio.

“To reduce the gap between us and the other clubs, we need a strategy – tactical and technical. But physical condition is one of the main parts, otherwise you can’t reduce this gap.”