PAOLO Di Canio believes Sunderland’s attackers put down a marker for themselves in the cup tie against MK Dons this week.
And he has challenged his players to keep it up, starting with this evening’s trip to Crystal Palace (kick-off 5.30pm).
Although the head coach was desperately disappointed with his side’s display for large spells of the game on Tuesday night, he was thrilled with the character and attacking intent shown by his players in the closing stages.
The end of the game brought a burst of four goals in just over quarter of an hour.
And Di Canio wants this to be just the start of a style of play which will see Sunderland earn a reputation as a team which always prefers to be on the front foot looking for goals.
“The goals we got from attacking players and I was happy with that because we need those players to score goals, we need them to get confidence and we need to see them doing that regularly,” he said.
“So now we have to keep going.
“Immediately after the match, you could see the players were full of positive energy and belief.
“We worked so hard in the match to keep going and the fact that we were able to come back into the game in such a strong way, lifted everyone’s confidence.
“I was most pleased though for my attackers because they thrive on goals.”
Summer signing Jozy Altidore grabbed Sunderland’s first goal of the night while Connor Wickham bagged a brace and Adam Johnson smashed home a classic in the eventual 4-2 victory.
“I was very happy with all of them.
“It is important for new strikers to get off the mark as quickly as they can.
“Connor showed us something with his performance and two goals after doing well coming on against Southampton in the previous game.
“And Adam Johnson showed what an important attacker he can be with that goal.”
Although Emanuele Giacherrini didn’t figure in the cup tie, he got off the mark with a goal in the 1-1 draw at Southampton last weekend and Di Canio hopes that the goals continue to flow now that the season is a few games old.
“It takes time to settle a new team in,” he said. “But our attacking players have all got goals and of course we have Steven Fletcher fit again and soon to return.”