PAOLO DI CANIO wants his improving middle men to continue looking for the killer ball, rather than playing safe.
Central midfield double-act Seb Larsson and Alfred N’Diaye have shone in Sunderland’s back-to-back wins over Newcastle and Everton after making immediate progress under Di Canio’s stewardship.
Although fellow midfielder Craig Gardner will return from suspension for Monday’s trip to his former club Aston Villa, the Brummie may struggle to break up the Larsson and N’Diaye partnership.
Head coach Di Canio has been impressed by the pair, hailing Larsson as “one of the best” players in the Premier League after last Saturday’s victory over Everton.
But the Italian is keen for both his central midfielders to continue contributing in an attacking sense, rather than looking backwards or sideways.
“I don’t like midfield players that touch 100 balls and don’t create anything,” said Di Canio.
“They never make mistakes and the statistics show they make 100 passes and 100 of them are good, but they are to the goalkeeper.
“I prefer to see my midfielders make 10 passes forward, seven mistakes, but three effective deliveries and then we’re going to score.
“The second goal at Newcastle came when Sebastian beat his opponent and then delivered it to Adam (Johnson) straightaway.”