The Italian way? Forget about it, says Sunderland manager Di Canio who avoided taking Serie A job for fear of it ending in 'disaster' (From The Advertiser Series)
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The Italian way? Forget about it, says Sunderland manager Di Canio who avoided taking Serie A job for fear of it ending in 'disaster'
SUNDERLAND'S backroom setup may have a distinctly Italian flavour to it, but Paolo Di Canio is confident that the changes made on Wearside over the last six months will not result in 'disaster'.
Di Canio, installed as Sunderland's manager in April, was followed into the Stadium of Light by director of football Roberto De Fanti and chief scout Valentino Angeloni as chairman Ellis Short wanted a complete overhaul of the operation of the club.
The Black Cats coach revealed that he did not want to work in Italy because of the commonly-used system of general manager, scout and coach which took the decision out of the coach's hands while placing blame at his door when it ultimately failed, but he is happy that, at Sunderland, he is given say in the type of player he wants to bring to the club.
Ten players have signed for Sunderland this summer, with Di Canio giving his scouts an idea of the characteristics he wants to build a team around. Greek winger Charis Mavrias is likely to be the next through the doors after Sunderland agreed a £2.5m fee with Panithinaikos, and will travel to Wearside this week to conclude talks.
However, Di Canio fears that, with foreign ownership, 'the Italian mentality' is seeping into the English game which, he believes, will only be a bad thing for the Premier League.
“I spoke to the chairman after four years and he wasn’t very happy,” said the former Swindon Town manager on Short's decision to replace Martin O'Neill in March. “He wanted change and a different environment. The idea was to bring in the Italian mentality.
“But for me that is wrong. I left Italy for this reason. I didn’t get a job there, I didn’t want a job there, in Serie B. I came in League Two in England instead.
“The Italian mentality is general is the general director and the scout decided the players to bring in. And the manager, the coach, has to coach them. We have to hope we can play 4-3-3, 4-4-2, but you might think one system works better than another so you need a specific characteristic on the field.
“They can show me, they help me in this because I can’t see and go everywhere to scout the players. They know the budget,
they know some player has a three-year contract or is a free agent, some player is a versatile player that we can put in there and there.
“If something goes wrong in two months, Paolo Di Canio is going to be sacked. In Italy, the general director chooses the manager, the coach and the players. If something goes wrong after two months, the manager is going to be sacked.
“This is why the Italian league is a disaster. Only one manager in the last few years has decided the characteristic – Antonio Conte from Juventus. This is why from nothing, they have spent money, the team has a clear identity, they have had fantastic results, won two leagues in a row, they did very well in the first season in the Champions League.
“If you want to bring in a complete 360 degree Italian mentality it cannot be possible.”
With foreign owners controlling most of the Premier League clubs, including his own, Di Canio is aware that the increased riches in the top flight this season can force an owner to fire the manager first and not fix a deep-lying problem, remarking that his own position could come under question should this season, which started with defeat to Fulham on Saturday, end disappointingly for the club.
He added: “In England there are intelligent people, that is why this nation always goes well, not just in football, when there is a crisis or something, you sort out the problems in some way. There is intelligence. Not pimps – I call pimps the people in the Italy environment of politics.
“There are also many foreign general directors and foreign chairmans in England over the last few years. The company is a company.
“If something goes wrong, who has to pay? Manager, straight away, because otherwise this business is gone, if we delay it we go down, we lose £65m first season, maybe £65m the second season if we don’t go up again, and then I can’t build the hotel or maybe the new facilities there, if we go down we have problems.
“It has become easy to point the finger. I’m not worried. I hope never but it can happen to me, even in one month's time. It is part of this job, I am intelligent. It will be tough if it happened. I’m sure it won’t happen for results but it can happen for a different reason. It could be here or another club in ten years' time. It will happen for a different reason rather than results.
“Then you can have your interpretation. If you are 12th in the league, after ten games, and you think we didn’t reach the level, it can also be for the results.
“But I don’t want to say this is a problem at Sunderland. But I made clear, forget the squad area, because I don’t ask money, I don’t ask how much we spent, they went and spent on Giaccherini, on Altidore, free agents in, I like. I know which identity I want to bring on the field.”
Out of favour defender Phil Bardsley has been suspended by the club after commenting about Sunderland's defeat to Fulham on social network site Instagram. The full-back has been reportedly told not to attend training or matches after posting “'Great opening day. Hahahhahaha hahahhaha!” on a fan's Instagram picture.
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