PAOLO Di Canio hears what people say when they argue that results are more important than performances in derbies.
But that won’t stop him trying to get Sunderland to play good football at St James’s Park today, because, in his view, the two go hand in hand. “In general, I believe that if you don’t play well, you can’t get the result you want,” the Black Cats’ head coach suggested
“With this game, I would accept playing badly and winning the game because we desperately need the points. But, once again, my nature tells me that it’s difficult to win if you don’t play well.
“If you ask me if I would settle for the win, at this moment, yes, to be honest, because we need the three points and they’re crucial.
“But, in general, my message to my players is that they have to try to play well because, that way, you will win more games than if you play badly or if you play without desire, discipline and quality.’’
Sunderland’s derby record is so abysmal over the last decade that some observers suggest there will be no pressure of expectation on the visitors this afternoon.
But Di Canio reject that claim. He welcomes the pressure of expectation that he has encouraged since his arrival.
And he wants the players to harness that expectation to drive them on to greater displays.
“There is a new ambition, a new atmosphere,” he said. “And that’s a good thing.
“Fans saw the difference on Sunday at Chelsea.
“There’s no pressure?
“The pressure is already high for one reason and that is because we are close to the relegation zone.’’