Di Canio: Sunderland had to say sorry for dismal display

Paolo Di Canio orders  his players to applaud the fans after the 6-1 defeat at Aston Villa.

Paolo Di Canio orders his players to applaud the fans after the 6-1 defeat at Aston Villa.

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PAOLO Di Canio says he has no intention of saying sorry to Sunderland fans after every defeat – but the loss to Aston Villa on Monday deserved a particular apology.

At the final whistle of the Black Cats’ crushing 6-1 humiliation at Villa Park, the Italian made a point of directing all his players over to the away fans to applaud their support.

And it was the new head coach who led them over, hands raised above his head clapping their presence.

“We had to acknowledge the supporters,” he insisted.

“I don’t go over to say sorry to the fans after every defeat.

“But when I was a fan I was very angry and unhappy if my team did not perform. I would be angry with the manager too.

“And our fans were great. They did not boo us, they applauded us.

“And they had travelled a long way – three or four hours to see us play and to support us.”

One of the things that has most impressed the 44-year-old about his new club is the size and passion of Sunderland’s following both at home and on away trips.

And he says he will never take their backing for granted.

He has also told his players that the only way to compensate the supporters is by turning in a performance that those same supporters can be proud of when Stoke come to the Stadium of Light on Monday night.

“The fans are genuine and we had to say thanks,” he said. “They spent money and they spent energy hard because sometimes as a fan you can have a heart attack supporting your team!

“At Villa it was the minimum we could do because the display was not acceptable.

“The lads are genuine and we have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“We have to fight for every ball and that way we will earn the respect of the fans. But we had to say sorry.

“I’m the person responsible and I have to put things right and that’s why I wanted to face the fans – so that they know that.”