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May, 21, 2013

Johnson backs Di Canio 'discipline'

Adam Johnson has voiced his support for Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio and his strict approach to man management.

• Blog: Brave last stand

The Italian made headlines this week after lambasting several members of his Sunderland squad for what he viewed as chronic unprofessionalism.

Singling out defender Phil Bardsley as one of the biggest culprits after the defender was photographed lying on the floor of a casino surrounded by £50 notes, Di Canio's stricter style has led to praise from Johnson.

"He's come in and managers have new things that they want to do," Johnson told the Sunderland Echo. "The gaffer is big on discipline and if it means us getting more wins, I'm all for it. There's nothing worse than losing game after game after game after game all season. I haven't been used to that in my career, so it's been difficult."

Narrowly avoiding relegation and ending the season 17th in the Premier League table, Johnson has conceded his first season on Wearside has been a poor one. However, with their Premier League status now secured, Johnson believes that progress under their new manager can begin in earnest.

"It's been poor, very poor," he admitted. "The table doesn't lie. I think the only thing that we can say is that the only way is up for us now. We can't get any lower to be honest. We survived and now next season all we can do is progress. That's the positive way of looking at it. Over the summer you never know, it's always up to the manager. Time will tell what happens.

"It's been the worst season of my career as a whole, I think. I actually haven't been that bad on the stats side of things, but performances haven't been what I've wanted.

"If you go through goals and assists, I haven't done that bad but performances have been sometimes. As a whole you look at yourself and you're honest with yourself. I think in general, everything hasn't gone well. We've got to look forward to next season now. It's all we can do."

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