Paolo Di Canio knows he will never be popular with his Sunderland players – but is certain he will get the best out of them anyway.
As his team look for their first win of the season in tonight’s Capital One Cup clash with MK Dons, the Black Cats boss has compared himself to Fabio Capello and said that he is certain his disciplinary measures will improve his entire squad.
Di Canio is known to have been dismayed with the portrayal of him since the start of the season and spoke at the weekend about critics of his managerial style. The Sunderland boss says he will never change and that “proper professionals” will have no problems working with him anyway.
“I’m sure I can get the best out of my players,” he said.
“When players leave this club in a few years’ time, you’re never going to hear them saying fantastic things about me like ‘he is the best manager in the world’ because players always want what they want. If they make a mistake, they don’t want stick, if they play badly they don’t want to be punished.
“The fact I’m completely the opposite in the way I manage my players means they are never going to say that I’m fantastic, but they can take advantage during the period they are with me because I’m good for them and I’m sure about myself. I have already proved this in a different level but in the same country and I was doing it with some cavemen. I am very good at this.
“I’m not happy being unpopular, but I know it can happen. This is the modern psychology. The current generation, in life as well as in football, don’t want to have stick.
“If you give them it they don’t like you, but one day, if they’re intelligent, they’re going to recognise that it’s for their own good.
“At Swindon, it might have been a more relaxing, easier life after I left, but they finished sixth, a drop of five places. I don’t want to say I’m God and that everyone else is average and I’m going to turn them into fantastic players, but with the discipline I instill I will get the best out of them. “We will win games.”
Di Canio also made the bold claim that one day he will be one of the “top managers” in the game.
He said: “I may never get the popularity of my footballers, but I’m sure I’ll get the best out of them.
“The ones who are not professional will say it’s not fair and invent some stories, because I fine the players who are unprofessional when they behave badly. Some footballers are lazy and less disciplined and do crazy things.
“It has happened here in the past, but the top players will never have a problem if they work hard and do the right things. Players like O’Shea, Larsson, Gardner will never have a problem.
“There are environments when not being popular helps get the best out of players and the results we want. Anyway, I’m never going to change.
“One day, I will be one of the top managers.”
Meanwhile, Di Canio says Stephane Sessegnon should not be judged until the transfer window has closed.
The Benin forward has looked listless in the opening games, but Di Canio suspects he has been affected by the speculation surrounding the transfer window.
He said: “He was the most positive player in pre-season, but it can happen in the approach to the season. Maybe he paid a big price (for pre-season), you don’t know.
“You don’t know if they come from a not-very-good moment. Maybe there is some problem or some rumour. They are humans. They are intelligent but sometimes when things happen they lose the right way. That is not because they are bad people, they just hear the rumours: a big opportunity, big money. You don’t know.
“Once everything is clear (the transfer window) everyone will give everything for the cause. We will all push together.”