Di Canio defends draws
Paolo Di Canio has defended his side's recent results as the club enters the final round of Premier League fixtures unsure of their future.
The Black Cats stumbled to their second home draw in less than seven days when they earned a point against Southampton on Sunday. Results elsewhere meant that Sunderland slipped precariously into the fourth from bottom spot, knowing they were one of three teams that could end the season in the relegation zone.
Visibly disappointed at Sunderland's inability to hold onto a lead given to them by defender Phil Bardsley midway through the second half, the 44-year-old preferred to focus on what he considered the 'miracle' his side had already achieved under his guidance.
"Eight points in six games is my record and I remain fully confident that we will stay up," Di Canio said. "I have been here only five weeks, but, considering the situation we came into, I think that eight points achieved by these players is a miracle. I would happily have settled for eight points in six games when I first took over. Remember, I did not have Steven Fletcher and Lee Cattermole available when I first came in, and lately I have not had Stephane Sessegnon and Craig Gardner."
Forced to work without a number of key players since arriving on Wearside in late March, the Italian also condemned the "bad environment" he inhabited when he took over the job.
"I have to tell you, the players we have had available, they did a fantastic job in my opinion," Di Canio explained. "When I got here, I knew the quality we had in our squad was exciting - players like Adam Johnson and Stephane Sessegnon and others - but the environment was dead. Now I can tell you it is not. We took a small step towards safety against Southampton.
"And I have to be happy with that because Southampton played better football than us. I was unhappy with our display, because we should have paid more attention and shown more desire in the game itself. But at least we got something out of the game. It's a step, but only a medium step. It is not enough and it's difficult. But once again, this one step could be enough - like the Stoke one was."
Meanwhile Egyptian midfielder Ahmed Elmohamady has revealed his desire to remain at Hull City after a successful loan period at the KC Stadium.
Elmohamady joined Sunderland on loan from ENPPI in 2010 before securing a permanent deal the following summer. Signed during Steve Bruce's tenure on Wearside, the 25-year-old was given the chance to rejoin his former manager in the Championship and is now keen to continue working for Bruce in the Premier League following the club's promotion.
"I do not know what will happen yet," he told the Sunderland Echo. "It has been a long season and I will go on holiday. I have never had a season where I have played so many games for my club and the national team. Now I will relax and see what happens. I would like to be here with these players, these fans and especially this manager, but we must wait and see."
"He is a great personality and a great manager," Elmohamady said of Bruce. "He brought me from Egypt to England and he has taught me a lot in training. Then he brought me here and it has been a great year for us all (at Hull)."