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Di Canio: I don't care if I'm unpopular
SUNDERLAND manager Paolo Di Canio is happy to play the role of the villain, insisting he does not care if he is unpopular as long as he gets the best out of his squad.
The Black Cats will hope it is third time lucky when they face League One side MK Dons in the second round of the Capital One Cup tonight looking for their first win of the season.
The manager has sent shockwaves through the Stadium of Light dressing room since his arrival with his strict regime causing a stir amongst some of his players.
However, those unhappy with Di Canio’s ways have either been moved on or cast aside, but for those who remain the message is clear – the Black Cats boss isn’t here to make friends.
“You will never hear the players say fantastic things about me in ten years time. They will never say ‘he’s the best type of manager’,” Di Canio said.
“Players always want what they want. If they make a mistake, they don’t want stick, if they play badly they don’t want to be punished. They are never going to say that I’m fantastic, but they can take advantage during the period they are with me because I’m good for them and I’m sure about myself.
“I don’t want to say I’m God and that everyone else is average, but with the discipline I instil will get the best out of them. We will win games.
“That is my way. I don’t want to be unpopular, but I’m not a man who is bothered whether they say I’m a fantastic man in the dressing-room. I’m not the manager they can ask whether they can have three days off to play golf or tennis.”
Since his arrival, questions have been asked whether Di Canio’s methods would work in the Premier League, but the Black Cats boss insists he will get the best out of his players no matter what level he is at.
He said: “I’ve heard it said many times that I can’t manage in the Premier League like I did in League One, but why not? Because of the egos? Why are they different egos? “If you let them do what they want they’ll go down anyway. I will decide how they’re going to play, I may never get the popularity of my footballers but I’m sure I’ll get the best out of them.
“Anyway, I’m never going to change. If I change, it will only be helping myself to improve, so I will always analyse myself but in general I’m never going to change. One day, I will be one of the top managers.”
As several Premier League sides prepare to take on lower league opposition over the next two days, Di Canio insists he will not follow other managers in taking the competition lightly.
Having led Swindon to the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in 2012, where they lost 2-1 to Chesterfield, Di Canio understands the importance of reaching a final at Wembley and believes a win tonight could kick-start their season.
“If you want a winning mentality it goes in line with all the competitions you play in. We have to treat this competition seriously, we will treat MK Dons like we would Manchester City,” said Di Canio, who is likely to make two or three changes to his side tonight.
“How anyone can under-estimate this competition, I don't understand. We have a winning mentality with players who want to win.
“I respect everyone's opinions and strategies but for me it's crucial to try and win every game.
“We've also said in this club it would be a dream to reach a final. For a player, it's the same. I know what it means to go to Wembley, I went with Swindon and it was an incredible moment for the club.
“It takes four or five games to get there so why would you under-estimate it? We always have to wear the shirt with dignity. We will never treat this competition like a friendly game.
“It is always the dream of a footballer to win at Wembley. I dreamt of it. It’s an important moment in club history. You can write an important page.”
Sunderland: Mannone; Celustka, Cuellar, Diakite, Colback; Johnson, Larsson, Cabral, Giaccherini; Wickham, Altidore.
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