No rest for Di Canio after survival
Published 15/05/2013 | 18:27
Paolo Di Canio has warned his players their summer holidays could be cancelled as he prepares to implement his brave new world at Sunderland.
The 44-year-old Italian completed the first phase of his mission on Wearside while sitting in his armchair as Wigan's defeat at Arsenal guaranteed the Black Cats their place in next season's Barclays Premier League.
Di Canio said: "I told them we can win, draw or lose with dignity, respecting the club's name and the fans who follow them. But if not, I will reduce their holiday. I will give them the minimum I can give to them, which is four weeks, 28 days instead of probably 38, 40 or 41."
He added: "It depends because in some way we have to start to change the mentality. Just because I fell in a trap against Aston Villa, I don't want to fall in a trap again.
"I am sure that four or five individuals don't need this kind of situation, but many others have to realise we need to change mentality or we have to use punishments in some way.
"It's not fair, but until the day I am sure that my players can go on the field and in some ways I can remain at home, I have to use anything I can to help change their mentality."
Survival, the very minimum requirement for the season, has justified owner and chairman Ellis Short's decision to replace O'Neill with Di Canio at the end of March, and the new manager has been delighted with the response he has had from his players.
He said: "It was important to maintain this club in the Premier League. I am very happy for the people who gave me the chance to deliver the job, for Ellis, for the Board, for the environment, for the fans, for the players because they were the protagonists.
"They pushed very hard because it was difficult for them to change habits and mentality, but in the end we delivered a great job and we are happy."