Di Canio: Benitez and I not the same
New Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has dismissed comparisons with Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez ahead of the pair's meeting at Stamford Bridge this weekend.
Di Canio has courted controversy since arriving at the Stadium of Light, with the Durham Miners' Association (DMA) the latest group to object to the 44-year-old's appointment. The group have asked for a banner to be returned to them, with other fans venting similar frustrations.
The treatment the former Swindon Town boss has received upon his appointment has similarities with the frosty reception Benitez was given when arriving at the Blues earlier this season. Di Canio, however, does not believe comparisons with the Spaniard are fair.
"It is a different situation. If I'm not wrong, he said something about [Frank] Lampard or Chelsea," Di Canio said. "He was a sort of enemy because he used to be manager at Liverpool so there was many times a hard confrontation. It is a different situation. I think he was very good until today, it was difficult to deal with this situation every game at home. He did his job. In my situation it is very different, I never played in Sunderland before, obviously I came here to play against Sunderland but I never had a problem with Sunderland fans and only some of them are sceptical, but one day they will be happy."
Di Canio says he cannot grasp why the DMA have a problem with him, but is adamant that he will eventually win them over, just like he did with the Swindon fans.
"I don't understand the problem [with the Durham Miners' Association]. I am a manager, a normal man," he said. "I am a family man. I work so hard I will dedicate completely my life for this cause because I will stay indoors 24 hours per day. The words sometimes fly away, what counts in life is the fact: Who you are, what you are doing, and what you did in the past. I think that should be enough and they will be happy one day.
"It was a problem, exactly the same, 21 months ago at Swindon. After two months those people were celebrating, remaining in the stadium five minutes after the game celebrating. Singing the players and manager's name. I'm sure in the future they will do the same. Not because I want them to sing my name, I prefer they sing the players' names because they need an extra lift."