Ex-Sunderland manager, Paulo Di Canio, has publically come out in staunch defence of his tenure at the club; blaming ‘pathetic’ fitness levels, strange transfer dealings, and poor player attitudes for his lack of success.
The fiery Italian was sacked after gaining one point from his first five games in charge this season, and in his first interview about his time at the Stadium of Light, Di Canio insists that he is now ‘…a better manager than before, much better.’
“I cannot wait to have another chance in the right place with the right people who let me work my way,’ Di Canio told Sky Sports News.
“Even if I have four requests around Europe, I don’t go; I will wait until the time in England when there is no more space for me. Otherwise, I wait.”
There were strong mutterings of discontent right the way through his reign, with Phil Bardsley’s early exclusion a precursor for things to come. Di Canio accused the defender of ‘treason’, after his comments on Twitter following the opening day defeat to Fulham seemed to mock the club,
“At the beginning of the season, he made tweets celebrating the defeat of the club that pay him,” Di Canio said of Bardsley,
“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.”
Bardsley has since been reinstated to the Sunderland fold by new manager, Gus Poyet; and while Di Canio has no ill feelings to the Uruguayan, he does however resent the comments made by Martin O’Neill earlier this week.
Di Canio took over from O’Neill last season and guided them to Premier League survival, but his heavy-handed management style led to fans, players and pundits alike taking issue with the former Swindon manager. O’Neill branded the Italian a ‘charlatan’ earlier in the week; something that left Di Canio fuming,
“I don’t know if he knows the meaning of this word charlatan. Probably I can teach him, even if I am not English,” Di Canio commented,
“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.”
O’Neill, the new Republic of Ireland boss, was responding to comments made by Di Canio shortly after taking over on Wearside in March, over the condition of the players at the club; comments that the Italian still stands by,
“The fitness levels were pathetic,” he said.
“I had players who told me they had cramps from driving the car.
“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.”
There were many that criticised the Italian for his excessive transfer dealings; but Di Canio denied having any power in that regard, claiming that director of football Roberto De Fanti, and chief scout Valentino Angeloni were the responsible parties,
“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.”