Di Canio absolves himself of blame for his spell at Sunderland

Paolo Di Canio
Paolo Di Canio

PAOLO Di Canio has absolved himself of blame for his divisive six months in charge of Sunderland and says he is ready for another job in England with the “right club and the right people”.

The 45-year-old was given the bullet at Sunderland in September after a record of just two wins in 12 Premier League games proved too much for American chairman Ellis Short to stomach.

But the Italian insists that he has no regrets about taking on the Sunderland job and says he has benefited from the experience.

“The sacking made me stronger,” he said. “I am my own worst critic.

“Sometimes a situation like this gives you a graduation.

“I think my level was too high for this situation.

“What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.

“I cannot wait to have another chance in the right place with the right people who let me work my way.

“Now I am a better manager than before, much better.”

Like his successor at Sunderland, Gus Poyet, Di Canio could attract potential managerial offers abroad but is waiting in the hope of landing another job in England.

“Even if I have four requests around Europe, I don’t go,” he said.

“I will wait until the time in England when there is no more space for me.

“Otherwise, I wait.”

The Italian’s parting shot in an interview in which he criticised Martin O’Neill, Roberto De Fanti and Valentino Angeloni was to turn his fire on Phil Bardsley, who has accused the Italian of trying to destroy his career, and leading scorer Steven Fletcher, who allegedly took umbrage at some of the head coach’s comments.

Speaking of Bardsley, he said: “At the beginning of the season, he made tweets celebrating the defeat of the club that pay him.

“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.”

The ex-Swindon boss then went on to deride claims from Fletcher that he did not want the players to smile or laugh.

He said: “Fletcher was never happy when I said, publicly, that after four years in England his record was two relegations, and twice 17th in the table.

“Maybe the players wanted a big screen with a comedy movie?

“When you have a training session you are there to improve. Maybe there is a moment when you have fun, and they probably had too much fun.”