Spurs v SAFC

Di Canio proud of players

by Stuart Vose

Head coach says club made friends during Hong Kong trip.

Paolo Di Canio has praised his players’ “professional” attitude after the Black Cats were welcomed with open arms in Hong Kong.

Sunderland were popular with the local fans at the Barclays Asia Trophy last week and reached the final before suffering a narrow defeat at the hands of Manchester City.

The players were mobbed following an open training session and enjoyed vocal backing from the crowd during the matches, particularly the final.

And Di Canio feels Sunderland have won more than a few friends in the Far East after witnessing how his players behaved and the locals’ reaction to them.

“It means our players, our group our club did a good job not just in playing football but how we behaved outside of the football environment,” he explained.

“We have a big name to protect, the dignity of this club and I heard that any fans the local area supported us because our players were very kind; they gave their time.

“They were professional, not behaving like fake stars – that made me proud and the club has to be proud too.

“Rather than hear some bad story, there is an environment where we can make the fans proud because this is the way to behave.

“We are a top club and an example for others.”