Di Canio seeks return to management after ‘saving’ Sunderland

Paolo Di Canio
Paolo Di Canio
Have your say

PAOLO Di Canio says he is ready to return to football management after his dismal run and sacking at Sunderland earlier this season.

The former Black Cats boss was dismissed in September after a disastrous start to the campaign left the club with only one point from five matches after a controversial summer transfer window.

But, in an interview on BBC One’s Football Focus, the Italian argues that he “saved” Sunderland in his six months at the helm.

When he was first made head coach in April, he points out, Sunderland were relegation favourites.

And he suggests that but for results like the unforgettable 3-0 win at St James’s Park, followed by the hugely impressive win over Everton which followed, Sunderland would now be playing Championship football.

Those are the credentials he says future employers should focus on, rather the disappointing start to Sunderland’s current campaign.

“I am ready to return,” Di Canio told the BBC.

“Five games cannot cancel what I did in the seven games before then, when I saved the club.

“Football is my breath.

“The Premier League is my aim, of course.

“Every manager thinks they are ready for the top, top level, but I do not only think about the top – the top for me is the place where I can train and work in my way.”

Di Canio, though, was judged not only on results during his brief tenure at the Stadium of Light.

Details of his admiration for fascist policies and countryman Mussolini dogged his early days at the Stadium of Light, but more importantly, from the playing side of things, he was seen as a divisive character full of his own self-importance.

Full-back Phil Bardsley, who has flourished anew under the management of new boss Gus Poyet, took the brunt of Di Canio’s style more than anyone and has gone on record as describing morale in the camp during the Italian’s time in charge as “beyond dead”.

But the 45-year-old, who led Swindon Town to promotion from League Two in 2012, is dismissive of the criticisms.

“If you read what those players said when I took charge last year, they praised me,” he added.

“In some way, they blamed the previous manager, but there was no chaos about that at the time.

“It is not an issue for me - I was sacked like 100 managers in life.

“When it happened to me, there is always said to be a problem, but there was not a problem.”

Twitter @sunechograeme

* Don’t miss tonight’s online Football Echo – with the biggest and best coverage of SAFC – it’s out tonight from around 7pm