Paolo Di Canio has been threatened with legal action by former employers Sunderland, following an interview in which he publicly criticised a number of his players.
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Di Canio, 45, was let go from his position as head coach in late September following a poor start to the season in which the club collected just one point from their first five games
Speaking in an interview with the Sun at the weekend, Di Canio hit out at a number of his former players: branding Lee Cattermole and Phil Bardsley “unprofessional,” he also described club captain John O'Shea as “two faced.”
Disappointed by Di Canio's decision to go public, Sunderland confirmed their intent to explore the possibility of legal action via a statement on the club's official website.
"Sunderland AFC would like to express its’ disappointment in relation to the disparaging comments made recently by Paolo Di Canio, regarding the club and its players," the statement read.
"The club is immensely proud of its players for the dignified and restrained manner in which they have conducted themselves publicly since Mr Di Canio’s departure and it is particularly disappointing to read such comments when there are legal obligations in place to ensure such behaviour does not occur. The club is now considering its position with its legal representatives.
"Having reached a cup final for the first time in 22 years, whilst also enjoying a run of only one loss in 12 games, we want to focus on what is a positive time for the football club and we would hope it is possible to draw a line under this matter quickly and that there will be no repetition. Neither the club, head coach Gus Poyet nor the players will be making any further comment on the situation. We are looking forward, not back and are focusing on the vital games we have ahead of us."