PAOLO Di Canio has called on his players to build on their second-half performance against Arsenal when they visit West Brom this weekend.
The Black Cats’ boss believes the first signs were there on Saturday of the new Sunderland he is trying to create, symbolised by the way they produced a spirited comeback against the Gunners.
But he says it is important that his side build on that at the Hawthorns and don’t become distracted by a start to the season which has seen just one point taken from a possible 12.
“The players are intelligent and I don’t think they will be overly worried about the league position,” he suggested.
“Many times I have experienced at being at the bottom of the table in my playing career and you just get on with it.
“We will be working hard to get things right in the next few weeks.
“We have to light a fire under ourselves though. We have to dig out more passion and we have to take that into the West Brom game.”
Di Canio also underlined though that he expects Sunderland to come on strongly this season despite their disappointing start to the campaign.
And he has predicted that even if the club’s position gets worse in the coming weeks with visits of Manchester United and Liverpool to the Stadium of Light, things will eventually get better.
“Of course you can lose games to Arsenal, to Manchester United but we have to work hard in training to improve,” he said.
“We have to put in the hours and concentrate on the long-term because there were good signs there against Arsenal - it is not easy to play as well as we did against them in the second half.
“We didn’t lose our power or our belief – we did not sink.
“After 20 games if you are still at the bottom of the table and you have only 10 points, then you can start to get worried.
“But at this moment in time, it is still very early in the season and we are working hard to gel.
“This is a normal situation but we are putting down plans for the long term and I am confident.