Di Canio hits back at O’Neill in war of ex-Sunderland managers

Paolo Di Canio

Paolo Di Canio

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PAOLO Di Canio has broken his silence since his sacking at Sunderland - to attack former manager Martin O’Neill.

The first shots in the Battle of the Black Cats’ (ex) bosses were fired by O’Neill after his appointment as Republic of Ireland manager last week, when he described the Italian as an out of work ‘managerial charlatan’.

O’Neill was still fuming over comments made by Di Canio in his six-month tenure at the helm of SAFC - in particular that the players the Italian head coach inherited from O’Neill weren’t fit enough.

But O’Neill’s jibes have angered Di Canio, who was appointed at the end of March and sacked in September after a 3-0 defeat at West Brom put the cap on a start which had seen just one point taken the first 15.

The Italian blasted: “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.”

And Di Canio went on to reiterate his claims that at a late stage of the campaign, Sunderland’s players simply were not as fit as they should have been, 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.”