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Paolo Di Canio's revolution ... in his words
When Paolo Di Canio attended his first press conference of the new Premier League season, the Italian spoke at length about the task he has faced since taking over in April and the changes he has made in the build up to today's opener with Fulham. The Italian told chief football writer Paul Fraser how he feels the Wearside 'revolution' is going
“It's a proper revolution here. It's a complete revolution. Last season we focused attention on the dressing room, changing the whole squad environment, the habits. The changes we made when they walk inside the dressing room. Now it is a complete revolution.
“Imagine if for three years your habit is to use the telephone when you are having a massage on the bed, even one minute before going out to train. For 25 days I accepted this because my first priority was to work on the field and not cut out all of their rules.
"Sometimes I had a frog in my throat, closed my eye, sometimes closed my mind, had balance, you know flexibility. Then, after three weeks, we had won at Newcastle and against Everton and I took advantage of that to establish some things … "I said from now on if someone comes inside with a mobile phone, even in the bag, I will take it and throw it away in the North Sea, the North-East sea. I say that because it is not acceptable. I said that I have adapted to them and been lenient but I explained what can be possible in a new environment, where the players look after themselves.
"I have to be intelligent, find the key individuals and find out how to adapt them to get them to perform together, live together and how to encourage them to give their best.
"But they have to adapt to discipline, to the new regime too. Otherwise everybody will have his own way to behave and it will be anarchy? No. It was already a big revolution but only 80 per cent. The other 20 per cent was in the way we travel, in the way we approach the players straight away after the game, with the masseurs, the medical staff how they link with the players.
“Before they accepted to listen, when the players said 'hey I've been out and drunk seven beers'; the masseurs would participate (in the conversation), they would not say 'hey it's not good', it's wrong. But it was because we needed a revolution.
“It is important that three hours before the game the players and the people around them have concentration, focus and purpose. Before they would sing or talk in a general way, but they have to go on the pitch and perform and be focused. We need discipline, why? Maybe it sounds much stricter. Maybe, if one minute earlier I give some advice and maybe it stays but then they go 'la, la, la' and it's gone because we are not all a genius in here (tapping the head).
"If you change things you touch the 'family'. This is a new way about how to think here, how to be professional. It's not easy. This is a big revolution. It's not just that we change the way we play, that we bring in 12 players over the summer, that we change the way we play from the back, that we change the way we travel. It's in the head. This is difficult. You have to change the opinions of players.
"We need to have lectures about why we can't have every day mayonnaise, ketchup, coke. Because they can cause chemical problems to the liver, to the stomach. If the stomach works badly and the blood goes straight through to the muscle, the muscle in the leg are under pressure. The muscles go quicker, because they need oxygen to maintain their strength.
“There are many things can cause a problem. If you have ice with coke you can have congestion! You can have a problem. I know many players who have ice with coke the night before a game and the can't play. In the night they have congestion and they can't play properly.
"Even coffee before a game or training can be a problem. You can have coffee but three or four hours before? Coffee can reflect into your mood. Your perception of the training. You can have a coffee when you get up, at breakfast but not an hour before you go out (training or playing). We give diet sheets to follow, you need a proper breakfast, carbohydrate, sugar, a bit of protein to help you have the proper energy to get through the training session.
"I'm sure we are not going to struggle this season. I'm sure. For many reasons. The quality, the tactical strategy we are going to bring, the identity, the protagonists, which are the players, the environment, the discipline will help absolutely.
“We will have six or seven points only for the discipline and the work ethic, I'm sure it will reflect on the field. I'm sure the fans will really believe in Paolo Di Canio. I give everything for this cause. I trust in the words I say.”
- said Paolo Di Canio, August 2013
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