Paolo Di Canio

Di Canio: Heart and spirit

by Stuart Vose

Reaction v Stoke 'has to be the start', says boss.

Paolo Di Canio says the work-rate and desire shown by his side when down to 10 men against Stoke must continue in the final two games of the season and beyond.

Sunderland came from a goal down to claim a point in their last outing at the Stadium of Light thanks to a rare strike from skipper John O’Shea.

The Irishman hooked the ball home at the far post from a Seb Larsson corner to bank a valuable share of the spoils and lift Sunderland three points clear of the bottom three.

Now Di Canio is looking for more of that fighting spirit in the months to come, not to mention during the upcoming clashes with Southampton and Spurs.

“We saw the reaction in the second half [against Stoke],” said Di Canio, who saw Craig Gardner sent off following Jon Walters’ early opener.

“That has to be the start for us. Obviously it was only a point, only a draw, but it was a very [big] point.

“I said straight after the game it will probably be crucial. The way it came it was even more important because in the second half, even if we didn’t create ten chances we were on top in my opinion.

“We had better possession and the players gave their best, not only with their heart but there was a very good discipline – the shape was amazing and we didn’t give them many chances.

“We were on top physically also so that has to be our start for the season – we have to feel this spirit in every single match to get something.”