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Paolo Di Canio sticking to his guns

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio says he will not apologise for criticising his players in public, insisting that they along with his critics will have to get used to his approach. 

Paolo Di Canio apologises to the Sunderland fans after the game.
Paolo Di Canio has not apologised to John O'Shea.

The Italian was surprised to see the reaction to his recent public dressing-down of Black Cats captain John O’Shea following the 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace.

And Di Canio, who says he has not apologised to the defender, believes that he must operate in this way to keep order at the club.

“I did it at Swindon as well and we won the league, we won at Wembley,” he told the Journal. “It’s strange this criticism and only happens to Paolo Di Canio. I heard many interviews last year with managers -- Harry Redknapp did many interviews and no-one asked why he said his team was playing rubbish and sh** football. No comments.

“Why is it only Paolo Di Canio? I want to ask why? What was wrong with it in your opinion? I saw something a few days ago saying that I phoned John O’Shea to apologise. It never happened. It is not because I wanted to feel big because I pulled up John O’Shea.

“The thing you don’t understand is that my relationship with my players is closer than you think. It means that for me I can point the finger straight away and say, ‘for your level, it is rubbish but it can happen’. But John, it was the second time -- it doesn’t change my opinion of the player, though. He is my captain, my leader. I would have had him, even at Manchester United.

“The day after the mistake I called him for one reason -- and this is the relationship I have with my players. He was sad, not for my comment but for the mistake he made.”

Citing the management blueprint Sir Alex Ferguson recently devised for Harvard University, Di Canio argued that he should never give control to his players.

“‘Egos need a stick’. Ferguson said that. ‘Egos need a stick’. They need a slap. Because they feel more protected,” he said.

“If 11 egos have a very weak manager they do what they want. If you have that you sink and sink and sink. You upset people in this environment. They have to become stronger. The club have to back their manager. Players should not have the power.”

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