Paolo Di Canio

Di Canio: Fans can play key role

by Stuart Vose

Boss's pre-match message.

Paolo Di Canio says Sunderland’s “amazing” fans can play a key role once again as the 2013-14 Barclays Premier League season dawns.

The Black Cats kick off the new campaign at home to Fulham this Saturday (KO 3pm) – tickets are still available.

Di Canio often highlighted the supporters as an important factor last season and says their unstinting support will be just as vital this time around.

“They are crucial – what they did last year was amazing, I couldn’t expect it,” he told SAFSee.

“The excitement in this area is obvious. [The fans’] passion, their supporting way to stay close to the team is very crucial.

“I don’t have to teach anybody in this way because what they did already is amazing.

“They don’t need any advice or any words to get closer to the club, because it is natural and that makes me very happy.”

Indeed, Di Canio knows just how vital fans can be given his own experiences during a long playing career.

“When I played football many years ago, it was important for me to feel the atmosphere; people pushing for you when you lose and when you win, to keep going over your fatigue,” he said.

“They [the fans] are special and we need them.”

-    - Make sure you’re amongst the opening-day crowd at the Stadium of Light this weekend – there’s still time to purchase your match ticket now.