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Fergie backs Di Canio appointment

Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Paolo Di Canio's appointment as Sunderland manager, but has carefully sidestepped the furore surrounding the Italian's ideological views.

• Blog: Can PDC make his point

Instead, Ferguson has focused on Di Canio's "football philosophy" and his passionate demeanour, something Sunderland may need if they are to halt their slump and remain in the Premier League.

The Black Cats could be in the relegation zone by the end of Sunday if Wigan's result against QPR is better than theirs against Chelsea.

"I must confess to a liking for the fellow and his approach to the game,'' Ferguson said.

"As I wrote the other week, he wears his heart on his sleeve and I like his football philosophy, wanting to play the ball on the ground rather than in the air.

"I have this picture in my mind of him being in the technical area pointing to the sky and then the ground in an effort to get his players to keep the ball down.

"He has a tough challenge on his hands with his fight to keep Sunderland in the Premier League."

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