di canio

Paolo says relax

by Ashley Houghton

PDC: 'We are going to build a very, very good team, with a very good work ethic.'

Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio has urged fans to stay calm ahead of the 2013-14 Barclays Premier League campaign.

Di Canio’s side are currently training in Italy, prior to a trip to Hong Kong, with the season opener just under six weeks away.

And the Italian has told the Black Cats faithful to ‘relax’ as he looks to improve his squad over the course of pre-season.

“In terms of fans, I was a fanatical fan when I was younger so I can understand their feeling, I know they want to know what’s going on,” he said.

“[The fans may feel] we need a striker, a right-back, a left back, and it will be the same when we win two in a row and they think maybe we can go into the Europa League.

“They will dream, they will go hungry, they will be upset but I can tell them only one thing, relax.”

The former Swindon boss, who steered the Black Cats to Premier League survival at the end of the 2012-13 campaign, says he expects the same commitment from his players this season as they showed towards the end of last season.

“We are going to build a very, very good team, with a very good work ethic, that will be crucial on the field - we are going to face the opponents; we are going to challenge the opponents,” Di Canio explained.

“My team and the players I select will always have to wear this shirt with honour, dignity and respect otherwise they can’t play under me.

“The fans have to be proud when we finish the game even if we lose, because, unfortunately, we are going to lose a few games.”

And he was quick to add that making the Black Cats faithful proud of their team was number one on his priority list.

“All the individuals wearing the shirt need to make the fans proud because this is the minimum that we can do because we have a big privilege to wear the shirt,” he continued.

“I can’t anymore but I can participate in a different way and determinate something for thousands and thousands of people.

“They have to stay relaxed because once again at the start of the season, on the 17th August, they will be happy.”