PAOLO Di Canio says his most important priority this summer is improving the number of quality players in Sunderland’s squad.
The Italian head coach watched Sunday’s game against Spurs with a sense of great frustration as his players gave the ball away too easily or failed to make the most of it when they had possession.
And while he saluted the tremendous fighting spirit of his footballers, he was quick to point out that having to rely on three raw teenagers as substitutes in such a match, is not what a club of Sunderland’s stature should be reduced to.
Being a perfectionist, Di Canio will push for quantity as well as quality – but it is the quality he wants to put the focus on.
And when he brings in those new faces, he wants to recruit players who will buy into his driven mentality of super-professionalism.
“I have to make sure the players we bring in are good professionals,” he said.
“I wanted to bring in players who have very high professional standards so they can effect each other in a better way.
“Overall though we need to bring in quality – that is the most important thing - because it is quality which will improve us.
“We have a lot of good players at the club but we need to bring in players who are technically very good and have genuine quality.”
Di Canio too will also look to switch the emphasis in Sunderland’s play to attacking football – something which will be music to the ears of fans who watched game after game in the season just gone where few chances were created and fewer chances converted.
No side in the Premier League, other than bottom of the table side QPR, scored fewer goals at home than Sunderland.
In fact there were fewer goals scored at the Stadium of Light last season than any other ground in the country.
And Di Canio agreed: “We need to score more goals.
“We don’t score enough.
“We will need more attacking players in order to score more goals and that is something we have to look at but I want us to play open, attacking football.
“This is the the sort of football I want to see with Sunderland.
“But to do that we have to work hard and we have to make many changes.”