SUNDERLAND’S second-half showing against Arsenal gave Paolo Di Canio encouragement that his “work in progress” is on course to deliver good results.
The Italian was in upbeat mood in his post-match Press conference despite a second consecutive 3-1 defeat which leaves his side at the bottom of the Premier League.
And he says he could not have asked more of his players than for them to produce an exciting second-half comeback against an in-form Arsenal side boosted by the presence of £42million signing Mesut Ozil.
“At the end of the match, I was not happy because of the result, but I have to take what I can from the game – which was the fantastic effort in the second half,” said Di Canio (pictured).
“We are still at the beginning of the season and if players understand that they have to give this energy and play this way, we will have a good season.
“A good season for us is to play this sort of football, get good results and stay up in a better way than we did last season.
“I know we are at the bottom and it is not very good to see the table, but this was an important game for us with the good football we played – the way that we came back not once but twice, only for the referee to deny us on the second occasion.
“It wasn’t easy for us to do.
“And what pleased me was that we didn’t get back into the game with anger, we got back into it with quality.”
Di Canio admitted it was a comeback which was needed, given how much pressure Sunderland were put under in the opening 45 minutes.
“In the first half we were too shy, but I can understand that with five new players – Ki, Mavrias on debut – Jozy Altidore and Steven Fletcher playing up front for the first time, Valentin Roberge coming back into the team,” he said.
“It wasn’t easy for the side and there wasn’t a great deal of communication – there is not a lot of togetherness yet because they are still so new to each other.
“But in the second half we dominated and that is the sort of play I want from us in the future. I could not have expected more from them.
“They had determination, desire and quality.”