PAOLO Di Canio has hailed tomorrow’s opponents Southampton as a top-10 side in the making.
And the Black Cats’ head coach accepts it will not be an easy task getting Sunderland’s first win of the Premier League season away to a club which has spent £35million this summer on signing three top-class players.
But Di Canio remains confident that his newly assembled side can improve on their performance against Fulham last week and taste success on the south coast.
The Saints have just paid a club record £15m on recruiting Italian striker Dani Osvaldo to add to the £20m spent on centre-half Dejan Lovren and midfielder Victor Wanyama this summer.
And although Osvaldo is not expected to start in tomorrow’s clash at St Mary’s, Di Canio knows that Sunderland will have their work cut out.
He told the Echo: “It’s a game we can easily lose because, in my opinion, Southampton are a top side now – a top-10 side
“They spent over £35m on the last three players they brought in and they have added to what was already a good base.
“They were a good side before their new signings – they started their revolution earlier than we did – and they will give us a tough game.
“We go there knowing there’s a risk we can lose.
“But we go there with a belief we can win.
“We know Southampton are a good side, but the way we will be this season, we will take on teams from Manchester United downwards believing we can win.
“We have consistent good quality throughout the team and we are motivated.”
The Sunderland boss has been working in training this week on areas where the team can improve the quality of the display produced against Fulham last weekend.
And he’s interested in seeing how his side perform away from home against in-form opposition.
“Southampton will play football much more than Fulham did, that’s for sure,” observed the Italian.
“But I’m sure also that we will defend better and use the players we have to try to hurt them more effectively.
“I’m looking forward to the game and to us playing it the right way.”