Head coach can't wait to sample derby action.
Paolo Di Canio wants his players to fight for “dignity, honour and respect” when they face Newcastle in the Tyne-Wear derby this weekend.
Sunderland’s new head coach makes the short trip to St James’ Park in only his second game in charge to face the Magpies following a 1-1 draw on Wearside earlier in the season.
Of course, this game counts for three points but is even more important in terms of dignity, honour and respect
- Paolo Di Canio
Di Canio has featured in derbies in three different countries and knows just how special the north-east’s top-flight version is.
“In my past, when I was young, I was a very fanatical fan,” he said. “We had the Roman derby.
“Here it is probably tougher because there are two different cities, very close, and it helps you feel the situation more.”
He added: “Sometimes managers say this game delivers only three points, but we have to be honest.
“Of course, this game counts for three points but is even more important in terms of dignity, honour and respect.
“This game counts for a thousand. We have to feel a responsibility. We want to make our fans proud.
“We want to win there because it would be fantastic to see our fans celebrating.”
Indeed, Di Canio says the importance of the game may have the effect of making his team talk easier.
I can’t wait to walk inside of the stadium and try to deliver the right details to my players
- Di Canio on derby test
“I don’t even have to mention the passion and desire,” he explained. “In some ways, it is easier to prepare.
“Games like Chelsea, Newcastle – if they don’t put in the right determination, we need [a] psychiatric clinic.
“We live for this stage, this moment. There is a risk you can lose, but with a big chance to win and get something important for the club. You can become heroes.
“It’s the best situation for the players.
“I will not accept from anyone to approach this game in the normal way. It is not possible in this game. Not one hundred per cent – five hundred per cent.”
He added: “I can’t wait to walk inside of the stadium and try to deliver the right details to my players, to get them doing the right jobs and trying to win the game.”