Gus Poyet is not Sunderland’s only problem, says ex-boss Di Canio

Paolo Di Canio
Paolo Di Canio
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FORMER Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio believes Gus Poyet is not solely to blame for the Black Cats’ current plight.

Poyet’s position as Sunderland head coach looks under increasing jeopardy after Saturday’s abysmal 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa left the Wearsiders just a point above the relegation zone.

It’s not Poyet’s fault, because chairman Ellis Short is the real origin of all these troubles

Paolo Di Canio

Sunderland are thought to be considering short-term replacements to take charge for the final nine games of the season - a stop-gap role which Di Canio similarly found himself in when he replaced Martin O’Neill two years ago.

Di Canio kept Sunderland in the Premier League, but was then sacked just six games into last season after a dressing room revolt against the Italian.

The ex-West Ham striker believes Poyet has fallen foul of being too lenient with Sunderland’s players, whereas he imposed a culture of fines at the club.

But Di Canio says owner Ellis Short, plus previous director of football Roberto Di Fanti, are also responsible for Sunderland’s continued struggles.

“It’s not Poyet’s fault, because chairman Ellis Short is the real origin of all these troubles,” Di Canio told Fox Sports.

“I saved Sunderland when the club was sinking, along with my staff. I completed a true miracle, on and off the pitch.

“We tried to change the philosophy of the team. In the two previous years, no fines were given, despite players getting drunk and partying until late, even a few days before a match.

“I was giving fines even for (players being) five minutes late.

“It’s fundamental, to keep order in the dressing room. I took all the responsibilities, but my project was immediately cut off.

“It was a choice which came from above. When I was the manager, two directors chose 16 players.

“None of them are still at the club - neither the players, nor those directors.

“I don’t want to blame Poyet, but if you’re afraid to fine one of your players, then you have to expect some troubles. This team is just looking for three worse teams to leave behind.”