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Cabral not part of Di Canio's plans
PAOLO DI CANIO has thrown the gauntlet down to out-of-favour midfielder Cabral to show an improvement or continue his exile from the Sunderland team.
Cabral has made a single start since signing from FC Basel in the summer, against Fulham, which Sunderland lost 1-0, but has been left out ever since. Di Canio did not even name him among the substitutes for Sunderland's 3-1 defeat at home to Arsenal, and says he is not likely to select him in the near future.
"In this moment I think I have better footballers that can give me a better job in the middle,” said Di Canio, who started Ki in central midfield alongside David Vaughan, who was replaced at half-time by Craig Gardner.
"We need a bit more fire, a bit more high tempo, a bit more physical presence.
"Obviously little Vaughany is not a physical presence, but he’s more sharp, even if he did not play very well against Arsenal.
"But in the last two games he was one of the best. He is sharp and can interpret the game in England better than Cabral, who is slow paced.
"Ki, even though he looked tired in the second half, has got quality, keeps the ball and is calm.”
The exclusion of Cabral, who made 99 appearances for Basel including representing the Swiss outfit in the Champions League, is a surprise as he is the only of Di Canio's 14 summer signings to find himself frozen out, seemingly with no sign of a return.
But although Di Canio has offered Lee Cattermole an olive branch, Di Canio has challenged Cabral to try to 'understand his football' before a recall is considered.
"You see with Craig Gardner in the second half, another really good guy, he has a bit more fire and did very well. At this moment it is difficult for Cabral,” said Di Canio, who was sent to the stands after remonstrating with referee Martin Atkinson at the end.
"It doesn’t mean that he won’t play in the future but it’s very difficult for him, I have to be honest. Maybe one day, if he can show me that he understands his football, then yes.
"Otherwise, in the middle, the heart of the game, especially against top sides, we will get beaten. At this moment, Cabral has got difficulties.
"We will see in the future, but in this moment he is behind three I’ve got in the middle."
Di Canio, meanwhile, may face an FA rebuke for his behaviour on the touchline which saw him dismissed.
The Italian explained: “I wasn't happy that their player was taking two minutes to walk 40 yards from the middle of the pitch. The referee told me 'if you keep going with your manner I'll send you up to the stand.'
“My mistake was that I said to him 'if you want to complete a perfect job you only have to send me off.' He said 'go off'. I'm sure he is a good man. He is a professional, he can recognise he made two mistakes.
“First one was a crucial moment, second one, I don't know if it was a mistake, I invited him to send me off and he sent me off. We can smile now but that was our conversation.”
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