PAOLO Di Canio was bullish in defeat this weekend, insisting that his players are on the right track and that he is confident that Sunderland will do well this season.
Yesterday’s 1-0 loss to Fulham completely deflated the atmosphere around an expectant Stadium of Light on the opening day of the campaign.
But Di Canio said: “We played well, and only the result wasn’t right.
“I told my players before the start of the season that I would settle for us losing a game if we had played well in it – that that was just as important as playing poorly but winning.
“It is a hard thing to stand by after you have lost a game, but I cannot be too hard on them because they tried very hard and they played well.
“The only disappointment is that when you dominate as much as we did, you don’t win.
“We created 10 clear-cut chances and they created only one but scored their goal.
“We put nearly 40 balls into their box and we played in their half for almost 80 minutes.
“So I can’t be unhappy with these statistics.
“If there’s only thing we should have done better, it was keep hold of the ball and perhaps be a bit more patient,”
Now Di Canio will painstakingly deconstruct the game for his players’ benefit and hope to use it as part of a learning process for the squad.
“In football, you work on things and try to think of the positives and that’s what I do,” said the Italian head coach.
“But there are some negative things and individually, the players, especially the ones from abroad, can learn from this game.
“The most important thing this can learn, is this: that one corner kick can cost you a game.
“This is the best and toughest league in the world, especially when it comes to set-pieces.
“There are big, big players in this league, taller than other leagues across Europe and they love set-pieces.
“So we have to learn and we have to improve.
“Fulham had one real chance to score and they took it – that is the Premier League.
“We have to learn and most important is that the players learn that Fulham’s goal was not an accident – Premier League teams can do this to you.”
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