Sunderland boss happy to start from scratch

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio
Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio

PAOLO DI CANIO is relishing the prospect of starting from scratch with Sunderland this season.

Di Canio faced a fire-fighting remit when he was appointed as Sunderland head coach at the end of March after being given seven games to save the Black Cats from the drop.

But after doing that successfully, Di Canio has been given the opportunity to put his own stamp on Sunderland’s side after adding nine players to the first-team squad at the Stadium of LIght ahead of his first full season in charge.

Di Canio said: “I am very happy and excited to have a fresh start.

“When I came here in March, the first thing I said was that I could not make all the changes I wanted to at that stage of the season.

“But now I am happy because I have been able to make those changes, bring in some new players and work with them for a full pre-season.”

After overseeing such a substantial overhaul of the playing squad, Di Canio will inevitably be judged on Sunderland’s fortunes this season.

Yet the Italian insists he has the utmost confidence that his recruits can help Sunderland to a more comfortable league finish, away from the tension of the relegation dogfight.

“Some people think that that means the pressure is on me now, because if something goes wrong then I am responsible,” added Di Canio.

“But I don’t feel that pressure. I could not wait for this season to start.

“I am sure about my players’ ability and what they can do, so that is very exciting.

“If we win 2-0, I will keep everybody’s feet on the floor. If we lose 2-0, I won’t worry because I am sure that in the long run we will have a very good season.

“This is because we have good players and good staff at a very high level and we will use the right players in the right positions.

“What is a good season? Not the top top six or seven, but anywhere below that – and without suffering as we did last season, when we had to rely on Wigan losing at Arsenal to stay up.

“In future we will be in charge of our own destiny and we will establish this club.

“We are at the beginning of the revolution.”