JOHN O’Shea says Sunderland’s players have fully bought into Paolo Di Canio’s hard graft philosophy, despite being given a rare day off this week in the wake of back-to-back wins over Newcastle and Everton.
One of the Italian’s first actions on taking over at the Stadium of Light this month was to cancel Wednesday as a standard day off.
But stand-in skipper O’Shea insists that was never the problem some observers predicted it might be.
“Look, if we’d had to be in the extra day this week, the lads would have fully taken to it,” said the Irish centre-back.
“They might not have been happy deep down inside, but if it meant keeping your place in the Premier League, the lads wouldn’t have any days off.
“There’s never a problem like that.
“We are paid to be professional enough like that, that’s never going to be an issue.
“The dedication is there – as the manager stressed after the game – the application the lads have put in, and just the focus and concentration.
“It’s not that he wants us running everywhere during the training sessions, just for those few little moments he wants us fully focssed.”
The former Manchester United defender is used to working with professionals at the highest level and says Di Canio’s care and attention to detail is rubbing off on a Sunderland squad inspired by his own work-rate.
David Vaughan and Seb Larsson are two players who have been highlighted as benefiting from the manager’s arrival.
But O’Shea insists that everyone is convinced by the new approach.
“It’s so important because the lads see what the manager prepares – whether it be little videos on the opposition, or little things he thinks we can hopefully take advantage of – and when the lads see it happening in games and watch it back on videos, they really buy into what’s going on.
“When you can see the manager wanting to make certain points, the coaching staff wanting to improve certain things, obviously the wins – and the performance against Chelsea to a certain point – have really generated that atmosphere, that positivity.
“The lads then buy into that then even more because they are seeing the rewards from it.
“You mentioned two lads – Vaughany and Seb – but it has been the whole 22 lads or whatever, 18 lads, whatever the case may be, who have reaped the benefits from it.”