• Premier League

Di Canio: No Sunderland training ground bust-up

ESPN staff
October 1, 2013
Paolo Di Canio believes he has been treated unfairly by the Sunderland board © PA Photos

Paolo Di Canio insists there was no training ground bust-up that led to his "unfair" departure from Sunderland, and says he has received messages of support from many of his ex-players.

The Italian was sacked on September 22 after just 13 games in charge with the club bottom of the Premier League, having signed 14 players in the summer.

Reports leaked out that Di Canio had been involved in a furious spat with his players the very same day after calling them in for a crisis meeting at the club's Cleadon training ground following Sunderland's 3-0 defeat at West Brom.

Di Canio reportedly blamed a number of his players for their poor start to the season, which sparked an angry response from several in the dressing room. Certain players are believed to have told Di Canio they did not like him and would not play for him.

It is then alleged Di Canio told his disgruntled players to tell the club's authorities they wanted him sacked, which they duly did.

"There has been a lot written in the media in recent days, much of it wholly untrue," said Di Canio in a statement. "There was no training ground bust-up as some are reporting and many of the players have since sent me messages thanking me for my time as their manager and helping them to improve as footballers. We could see that results had not gone as well as any of us had hoped, but I felt as a team we could turn things around.

"When you bring in 14 new players, many from overseas and very few with Premiership [sic] experience it is going to take time for them to adapt to the English game and to gel as a team.

"I love English football and I feel that my time at the club has been unfairly cut short as given the chance, I am certain that had I been allowed longer, I would have been able to develop the team to achieve the success Sunderland fans desire.

"I remain confident in my ability and I want to manage again in England as soon as I can. I have learnt a lot from my brief time at Sunderland and I am sure that this will only make me a better manager in my next job."

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