Di Canio blasts Sunderland players’ attitude

Paolo Di Canio.
Paolo Di Canio.

PAOLO Di Canio saw his Sunderland side win their last pre-season game before the start of the Premier League campaign next weekend, but he left Denmark fuming at what he saw as a poor attitude from his players.

The Black Cats emerged as 1-0 winners over Midtjylland, current leaders of the Danish Superliga.

But he was angered by what he saw as a below-par approach to the match by his players and he left them in no doubt about his feeling in the post-match debriefing in Herning.

“I’m not happy,” he told the Echo afterwards.

“I didn’t see the performance I wanted to see.

“We have 10 days to go and it is the last real game before the start of the season – I’m not happy because it was an important game for me.

“Every game is important, of course, but I would have preferred to lose the game and see a better attitude and more improvement in our play, rather than win and take one step back from what we showed in Hong Kong.

“So I didn’t enjoy it.

“I know that when you are engaged in a process of building something, you can have one step forward and two back – or two forward and three back.

“But I expected a bit more.

“I didn’t enjoy watching my players play – not all of them but a few of them.”

Di Canio referred to his disappointment with a “French-speaking player” as well as others, and that seemed to point the finger at Stephane Sessegnon, who had one of those somewhat anonymous and inconsistent games he occasionally produces.

It could also have been applied to though, to Valentin Roberge or fellow summer signing Cabral.

And the head coach continued: “I was disappointed with the attitude.

“The attitude is crucial.

“We can talk about tactics during the season or technical mistakes that can be improved by practice, but the attitude is the thing you don’t know.

“Some of my players are new, so I don’t know.

“I would not be arrogant enough to think I can discover their attitude in two hours of playing, but it can change for whatever reason.

“Today was a big opportunity for all the players to show we are ready to start the season strong, but some of them failed to complete the mission.

“I have to make sure they change their mentality otherwise we will have a problem.”