PAOLO Di Canio has reminded his Sunderland players ahead of tomorrow’s game against West Brom that good beginnings lead to happy endings!
The Black Cats’ boss is aware of and is concerned about the slow starts Sunderland have made in recent games and has been working hard to ensure that his side hit the ground running at The Hawthorns tomorrow.
Apart from the game at Southampton, where Emanuele Giaccherini nodded his side ahead in the third minute, Sunderland have trailed in their other four games this season and it is an issue that the Wearsiders want to put right at West Brom.
“Starting games better?” mused Di Canio.
“It’s a good point to raise because we have worked hard on that subject this week.
“The first time it happens – when you start slowly in a game – you can say, well, things like that can happen.
“But when it happens a second time, a third time and so on, then you have to look at it, and, for us, I think it is a problem individually and then collectively.
“It is important to recognise that a few players at kick-off, who loose balls cheaply, start losing confidence and then we start playing within ourselves.
“If it is only one player, it’s not too much of a problem, but if it is three or four it becomes a problem and that’s what it has been like for us.”
The Sunderland head coach says that he hopes to see an improvement in tomorrow’s game against an Albion side only one point better off than the Wearsiders.
“It’s about individuals taking responsibility and looking to improve,” he said.
“And that’s why we point out problems to individuals and that’s we change a few drills in training and that’s why we impress on them the importance of keeping the ball, of us being aggressive and getting our challenges in.
“It will be crucial at West Brom for us to start in a positive way.
“I think that will be important in the game overall and it is important that we give ourselves a good base at the start of the game on which to build on.
“We have to take care of the ball when we have it and we have compete aggressively to win it.”