Short: Why I had to axe O’Neill and am excited by Di Canio

New Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio

New Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio

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ELLIS SHORT says Sunderland’s results over the last year prompted him to relieve Martin O’Neill of his duties, writes Chris Young

The Sunderland owner will watch the Black Cats in the flesh for the first time under Paolo Di Canio today – three weeks after sacking his predecessor O’Neill.

O’Neill failed to win any of his final eight games in charge, but Short insists performances stretching further back prompted him to sack the former Aston Villa boss, to preserve Sunderland’s top flight status.

“The simple answer as to why we changed managers was because our results and performances on the pitch hadn’t been good for over a year,” admitted Short in the club’s matchday programme.

“The decision to change manager was made with only one aim - to give us the best possibility of staying in the Premier League.

“I am excited that we were able to bring in Paolo.

“Paolo is a real training ground coach. His very choice of title of head coach, rather than manager, tells you a lot about him and his approach.”

Short added: “In my initial discussion with Paolo I was very impressed with his enthusiasm, his passion and his love of the game.

“I like his willingness to do whatever he and his team have to do in order to give us a successful end to the season.”