Paolo Di Canio accuses Sunderland of being a weak club and calls the players who rebelled against him 'cowards'
Paolo Di Canio has accused Sunderland of being a weak football club, the players who rebelled against him of being "cowards” and insisted it is his "destiny” to become the manager of West Ham United.
Di Canio’s ego was badly bruised by his sacking at Sunderland back in September after he had won just two out of his 12 league games in charge.
That poor form was a big concern for the board, but the decision to sack him was taken by owner Ellis Short following a player revolt of unprecedented scale in this country.
A large number of the first team were incensed by the way they were spoken to and treated by Di Canio and it was revealed how senior players had urged the club’s board to sack him following a furious row in the dressing room after a 3-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion.
Short has since called the appointment of Di Canio a terrible "mistake", but the Italian, in a bid to put himself forward for new jobs, has launched an astonishing attack on those who opposed him and insisted Sunderland were neither strong enough or good enough to have him as manager.
"It depends what the club wants, if the club is weak then they believe in the players, if they are strong they believe more in the manager," said Di Canio. "That is not something that can only happen at Sunderland, it can happen anywhere.
"To be honest, I have never been part of a group of players that went to the chairman because that is for cowards, I do not like that, it’s not fair. I prefer confrontation with my manager.
"It does not hurt me, it was four or five or six [players], but I do not like people who do not look into your eyes when they speak to you.
"I really believe in work, work, work so my standards are very high for those people without ambition. People with ambition want Paolo Di Canio.
"Sometimes you can make mistakes because you are under pressure, but in terms of what I want people to be, there was no mistake. Sometimes there are managers who are not good enough for some groups, but there are also some groups who are not good enough for the manager. In this case it is the second."
"It was an experience I had, a good experience the first part [keeping the club up], but a bad experience the second part, but that is something that can happen to any manager in the world."
Di Canio has been looking for another job in management since his acrimonious departure from Sunderland and he acknowledged his reputation has been damaged by what happened.
However, the former Celtic, Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham striker, remains unapologetic and insisted the blame for what went wrong for him on Wearside was not his.
"More than a few things went wrong, I was working with 14 new players, all new together and all from abroad," he added.
Asked if he didn’t want them, why were they there, Di Canio replied: "We should ask the director who has now been sacked, [Roberto] De Fanti why all the targets I mentioned to them and we had all the chances to bring, why they didn’t come.
"When something goes wrong it is obvious some relationships do not work, but I kept the club up with a similar group of players last year when I took over from Martin O’Neill. I saved the club. I will be a manager in England, it is obvious."
There are those who believe Di Canio does not have the temperament to be a top class manager, but the 45-year-old will never be one of them.
He also retains the affection of a large number of West Ham supporters who have been chanting his name during their alarming slump under current manager Sam Allardyce.
"They were chanting my name four years ago when I wasn’t a manager," added Di Canio in an interview on BBC’s Football Focus. "Because my experience there was like they were my family.
"Everybody knows this [it would be special to go back there] but I don’t want to say this now because it is not fair. All I can say is, one day before the end, whether they go up or down and what players they give to me, it will happen, it’s obvious. That is my destiny."