PAOLO DI CANIO has pledged to stay out of the limelight before his Stadium of Light debut gets underway tomorrow.
Sunderland’s new head coach will receive a hero’s welcome when he makes his home bow against Everton tomorrow after masterminding the Black Cats’ biggest win over arch-rivals Newcastle United for 34 years.
The Italian became only the second Sunderland manager in the Premier League era to savour a victory on Tyneside and, in the process, ended the club’s nine-game winless streak.
But Di Canio insists there will be no parading in front of Sunderland supporters before kick-off, as he concentrates all his energies on making further progress in the survival battle.
Di Canio told the Echo: “I won’t walk on the pitch before the game. I won’t do that because it is not my day.
“It is the fans’ and the players’ day.
“I don’t want to come across as a fake, humble, person, but this is my mentality.
“It’s not disrespectful – the fans will see me and we will all celebrate together if we score a goal or win the match.
“But I won’t try to take all the applause before the game.
“I will take my place in the dugout quietly – well, maybe only until we are two seconds into the match because then I will be on my feet!”
Di Canio became an instant fan favourite in only his second game in charge of Sunderland after celebrating with such exuberance in last weekend’s 3-0 victory on Tyneside.
And even before the final whistle had sounded, Di Canio saluted the travelling Sunderland supporters after they chanted his name, following the second and third goals at St James’s Park.
“At 2-0 or 3-0 with 10 minutes to go in the derby, that’s different (to before the game tomorrow)” added the Italian.
“That was a different moment.
“Of course I acknowledged the fans and the terrific support they gave to the team and to me in the game.
“But we are talking about before the game tomorrow and I won’t go on the pitch.
“No, I prefer to be with my team in the dressing room until the last second – I don’t want any distractions.”