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Di Canio moves to sign Borini after Wickham and Ji disappoint
PAOLO DI CANIO has moved to bring in Liverpool striker Fabio Borini after he was left fuming with some of his players in the wake of Saturday’s defeat to Crystal Palace, calling young strikers Connor Wickham and Ji “empty in the head”.
Borini is due on Wearside today and is expected to complete a loan deal before the transfer window closes at 11pm, while the Black Cats boss is also hoping to sign former Liverpool left-back Andrea Dossena from Napoli Di Canio's side went down 3-1 at Selhurst Park despite going into the last 11 minutes of the game level after Steven Fletcher had cancelled out Danny Gabbidon’s first-half opener on his return from injury.
A Dwight Gayle penalty and a superb curling effort from Stuart O’Keefe sealed Palace’s first win since their return to the Premier League after John O’Shea had been sent off for a reckless foul on Gayle for the penalty.
Wickham and Ji were given another chance to impress following their appearances in the midweek cup win over MK Dons, but neither covered themselves in glory in the absence of Jozy Altidore, who missed out because of a hamstring injury.
The pair lacked a cutting edge and never looked like scoring, while Ji, who was hauled off 54 minutes into last Tuesday’s win, only lasted 45 minutes after he had repeatedly given the ball away and missed a glaring opportunity to score in the first half.
The South Korean international found himself free in the box when Ondrej Celustka served up a dangerous cross, but the striker made a hash of trying to connect with the ball.
“I am more disappointed than him (Ji),” said Di Canio, who has also been linked with Manchester United defender Alexander Buttner and Fenerbahce striker Moussa Sow going into the final few hours of the transfer window. “I think also the people, the fans because the expectation on him is very high because he can do much better, even in only keeping the ball.
“We don't ask the moon. Not to lose every ball under pressure. We don't ask the moon. Even Connor, the young fella he can keep the ball much better if they have more desire, and if they play less empty in the brain they can keep the ball much better.
“At this moment they are empty. One has to fly to Korea as he has a game in Russia, the other one (Wickham) probably after one and a half goals against a League One side is probably over the moon.
“So everybody, the manager first, has to let them realise they have to work so hard if they want to leave their stamp on this league. Otherwise it's difficult.”
Di Canio was also unhappy with O’Shea after the captain’s glaring mistake led to Palace’s penalty and him being sent off.
The error came at a time when the Wearsiders were beginning to get on top for the first time in the game and Di Canio admits his defender’s failure to deal with a routine ball was unacceptable in the top flight.
He said: “Our leader didn't react in the way he should. That is terrible because it was a crucial game for us.
“The penalty didn't come from a dangerous situation. It's absolutely poor and not acceptable.
“It was difficult to see this goal at this level. John O'Shea did something really wrong but he is an experienced footballer.
“It won't determine the outcome of our season but if we don't think every ball could be crucial, then it could be a problem.
“What we missed was quality in the opponents' box. The delivery and way we tried to attack the six-yard box because we had a clear chance – we saw why we didn't turn in a goal. One time we did a delivery very well and Ji didn't push his head forward.”
The season may be only three games old, but already the Black Cats are playing catch-up heading into an international break with games against Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United coming up.
Di Canio has won only two of the ten league games since his appointment in April, but the Black Cats boss isn’t worried, and believes his side has enough quality to beat anyone.
“Obviously they are beatable (Arsenal, Liverpool and Man United). Why not? We play the game to get some points. It is 11 against 11. If we play as we did at Crystal Palace we can damage any side.
“We are going to add a few players in the squad so I am positive in this. My worry is only this: We have to work on these kinds of things. We have to ask for more attention from the players.
“If they are working hard we are going to be ok. It is obvious that in October we can have only a few points – one point, five points, seven points. It depends. But why not? Why can't we win, especially at home in front of our fans? They are crucial.
“If I think about having one point by October it is better that I retire from being a manager. If I think I will not have a chance to beat Arsenal at home or West Bromwich Albion away, Liverpool or Manchester United at home – or two wins out of four games, why not?
“Why do I have to have only one point? Why do I have to lose every game with this team? It is not realistic in my opinion. Obviously we can win one, two or zero, or three draws – we will see. But we have the ability and quality to beat any side. The fact we will play three games at home, we have a chance to get points, obviously.”
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