Sunderland’s O’Shea: Forget Di Canio and move on

John O'Shea.
John O'Shea.
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JOHN O’SHEA has urged an end to the autopsy over Paolo Di Canio’s dismissal, despite confirming Sunderland’s players felt it necessary to take a stand against the Italian’s regime.

A week after Di Canio was sacked as Sunderland head coach, the manner and reasons behind his departure still casts a cloud over the Stadium of Light.

Details continue to emerge of the volatile scenes in the away dressing room after Di Canio’s final game in charge at West Brom, with a delegation of senior players voicing their concerns to the Sunderland board 24 hours later – an event now confirmed by captain O’Shea.

But the Republic of Ireland international is keen to move on from the Di Canio debacle with Sunderland still rooted to the foot of the Premier League table after yesterday’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool.

The winless Black Cats have taken just a solitary point from the opening six games and O’Shea knows a stern test awaits for Di Canio’s successor.

When asked whether Sunderland’s players felt something needed to be said about Di Canio, O’Shea told the Echo: “That was obviously done. But we have to move on now.

“Because of the position we’re in in the league, we can’t keep going back to it. We’ve got some difficult months ahead.

“Whoever comes in, whether it’s Bally (Kevin Ball) or a new manager, we’ve got tough times ahead.

“We have to stick together and if we keep going back to it, it’ll soon be too hard to pull back from where we are.”

Caretaker boss Ball oversaw a much-improved display from the Black Cats yesterday, in his first Premier League game in charge since his maiden temporary stint in the dug-out in 2006.

And O’Shea says Sunderland’s players would be happy if Ball was handed the reins on a permanent basis, although the Black Cats board continue to consider their options.

“Without a doubt, he’s (Ball) made an impact,” said O’Shea. “If it does happen (Ball becomes Di Canio’s successor) the players would be very happy.

“But we wait and see what the club decides.”

Ball was unable to prevent the run of successive defeats extending to four though, as Luis Suarez’s double, plus a controversial opener from Daniel Sturridge, proved sufficient, despite Emanuele Giaccherini’s second Sunderland goal in as many games.

Sunderland have now conceded three times in each of their last four league games and O’Shea admits that defensive vulnerability needs to change. “It’s a massive concern at the moment,” added the 32-year-old.

“We need to get back to simple clean sheets because that will get us up the table.

“That’s a collective thing. Working together as a back four and in midfield; everyone.

“The second half was obviously much, more like it and Bally told us in no uncertain terms at half-time what was required. With a bit more luck, we could have got a point.

“We got our goal, but probably didn’t do enough to get that second.

“In the first half, we did okay and Seb’s (Larsson) hit the crossbar and there were a few other chances.

“Okay, the goal has gone in off the guy’s arm and those things maybe don’t go for you.

“That’s when you have to work hard to turn things around.

“But we need to start going ahead in games, rather than chasing them.”