Sunderland’s Di Canio ready to tackle tough spell head on

Paolo Di Canio.
Paolo Di Canio.
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PAOLO Di Canio is unfazed by Sunderland’s poor start to the season and unperturbed by the difficult games ahead.

The Black Cats have made a worrying start to the campaign, taking only one point from nine in games against Fulham, Southampton and Crystal Palace.

Now they face three difficult league games before September is out.

This Saturday, they are at home to high-flying Arsenal, who will have record signing Mezut Ozil available, they then face a tricky away trip to West Brom, where former hero Stephane Sessegnon will be making his home debut for the Baggies, before leaders Liverpool visit the Stadium of Light.

But while Sunderland fans have been left down in the mouth by a spell which has the club in the relegation zone after the opening few games, Di Canio himself has shrugged off the sluggish start.

“I wanted a good start to the season,” he told the Echo. “I wanted us to start really well, but I was not relying entirely on getting points from the opening three games.

“This is a long season and over the course of it, the potential of teams will come out and I believe that, as a squad, we have great potential.

“That won’t happen straight away though, the real potential of clubs will only start to emerge in November, December time, after 14 or 15 games.

“It might be more, it might be 20, but I’m sure that, by the end of the season, we will demonstrate our quality.

“I’m not worried. We wanted to make a great start but we will develop and we will improve.”

Di Canio says he and his team will also go into the next few games fully confident that they can pick up points on a regular basis.

He said: “There is no point in being a manager if you don’t think you can get something out of every game you go into.

“The games ahead will be very difficult, but I think, in some ways, our style might be better suited to teams that are coming at us and therefore give us a chance to attack and create goalscoring chances of our own.”