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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Paolo Di Canio defends short stint

The hapless Paolo Di Canio watches it all go wrong at the Hawthorns.
Paolo Di

Paolo Di Canio has refuted claims of a training ground bust up with players at Sunderland as he launched, in a statement to Sky Sports, a defence of his short stint in charge of the club.

• Randall: Sunderland valiant
• Heneage: Di Canio problem

The Italian became the first managerial casualty of the new Premier League season when he was sacked on September 22 after a 3-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion.

Di Canio lasted just 13 games at the club, the high point coming at the back end of last season as Sunderland beat derby rivals Newcastle 3-0 at St James' Park.

But a dismal start to the season, in which the club failed to win any of their first five top flight matches, gave rise to his dismissal amid a flurry of stories decrying his confrontational style.

Di Canio has hit back at those claims in a statement released on Tuesday, in which he claims it was always going to take him time to mould a team with so many new signings together.

"When I joined the club last season with the aim of saving them from relegation I was happy to be offered the opportunity to manage in the Premier League," he said in a statement released to Sky Sports.

"I walked into a challenging situation but achieved what I was asked to do, the highlight of which was the fantastic performance and win against Newcastle, which is something I will always remember. When you bring in 14 new players, many from overseas and very few with Premier League experience it is going to take time for them to adapt to the English game and to gel as a team.

"As I have said many times, I love English football and I feel that my time at the club has been unfairly cut short as given the chance, I am certain that had I been allowed longer, I would have been able to develop the team to achieve the success Sunderland fans desire.

"There has been a lot written in the media in recent days, much of it wholly untrue. There was no training ground bust up as some are reporting and many of the players have since sent me messages thanking me for my time as their manager and helping them to improve as footballers.

"We could see that results had not gone as well as any of us had hoped, but I felt as a team we could turn things around. I remain confident in my ability and I want to manage again in England as soon as I can. When things like this happen it is important to take something positive from it.

"I have learnt a lot from my brief time at Sunderland and I am sure that this will only make me a better manager in my next job. Even though my time at the club ended prematurely, I would like to thank Sunderland for giving me my first opportunity to be a Premier League manager."

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