PAOLO DI CANIO insists his masterplan will blossom in time, despite the question marks over Sunderland’s start to the season.
Sunderland host fourth-placed Arsenal tomorrow having taken just a solitary point from their opening three Premier League encounters against Fulham, Southampton and Crystal Palace.
After last season’s relegation troubles, the opening to the campaign has inevitably prompted doubts among supporters and in the media over whether Di Canio can indeed turn around the Black Cats’ fortunes.
But the head coach remains as confident as ever in Sunderland’s prospects this season and says his players cannot afford to be swayed by the criticism.
“It’s important that the environment here doesn’t get distracted (by criticism) or think ‘that is right’,” said Di Canio.
“Otherwise something that we are trying to build will disappear.
“We are trying to build something here for the next 10 to 15 years with a different kind of football, so to lose that in an instant would be crazy – even if we are going to lose another three or four games.
“Obviously, after 20 games, you can say that the project either sunk or sank.
“The club decided to have a revolution and decided to give me this job, but not for five or six games.
“Last year, after 17 games, they had 16 points so it’s an environment that is ready to suffer a bit to change the mentality.
“You have to wait.
“My regime is the winning regime, I’m telling you. My ideas, my principles are for the top level.
“But the club has to think that if we play good football and lose, then one day we are going to win, win, win.
“In here, we will finish in a good position.
“The squad is now a large squad, with many players back and the main players with pedigree.
“There are options on the bench to change too and there is more communication between the foreign and English.
“It takes time – one game, two games, three games – but I am sure we are going to take off.
“Forget the critics because, for me, it is ridiculous,
“I don’t care about the critics. At this moment, Paolo Di Canio feels more confident than ever.”
Di Canio insists there were similar doubts over his methods at the start of his reign at former club Swindon after the Robins lost four of their first five games of the League Two season.
But the Italian was so confident in his managerial abilities that he urged the Swindon board to “back him or sack him” before leading the club to promotion.
“The people may think three games, one point,” added Di Canio.
“But after six games at Swindon, I went to the board.
“I was sure that if they told me I was going to be sacked, it would finish my career because I don’t have any support from anyone.
“The media don’t like me and neither do managing directors. It would have been difficult for me to have another chance.
“But I went to the Swindon board and said ‘now you follow me more than ever, otherwise I go’.
“I said ‘sack me now or you follow me, if you want to win the league, you have to follow me’.
“They did that and we gradually we worked our way up.”