ADAM JOHNSON insists there is no fear factor under Paolo Di Canio.
The Sunderland head coach has cracked the whip since arriving at the Stadium of Light, with the likes of Matt Kilgallon and Phil Bardsley both falling foul of his disciplinary policy.
But England winger Johnson insists Sunderland’s players are not scared of the Italian.
While Johnson acknowledges that Di Canio demands hard work on the training ground and will not accept any horseplay, he insists Sunderland’s players are still able to relax under the Italian’s regime.
“I don’t think the lads feel that way,” said Johnson.
“When we go out on the training pitch, we know what the gaffer wants from us.
“We work hard in training, but then after training, we can have a laugh. He wants to have our full attention during a training session.
“But it’s not really fear, it’s the hard work he demands from us.”
Di Canio is the third Italian manager that Johnson has worked under after Roberto Mancini at Manchester City and Fabio Capello for England.
And Johnson says there have been similarities between the trio, with all three expecting high standards of their players.
“Obviously there’s similar things on the tactics side of it,” said Johnson.
“Demanding is definitely the word, but that’s what you sort of expect.
“When the gaffer was brought in, it’s all about tactics, not necessarily playing free-flowing football. You play to your shape.
“Every manager I’ve worked under has been different. Under Capello with England, there were similar things in training.
“But every manager has different ways of man managing.”
Di Canio has attempted to put his mark on Sunderland’s squad by bringing in eight new players so far this summer, with the promise of more on the way.
Jozy Altidore and Emanuele Giaccherini have been Sunderland’s two big money buys and Johnson says it has been easy to strike up a relationship with the duo.
“It’s a total different team, we’ve made a lot of new signings,” added Johnson.
“But with Giacchy and Jozy, they are obviously two quality players and it’s easy to play with quality players.
“As soon as you get on the same wavelength with a good player, it doesn’t take the team long to get the chemistry.
“With all of the new lads, they’ve gelled really quickly and hopefully that will show more in the next few weeks and when the season starts.”