Di Canio on no Sunderland regrets, banning ketchup and mayo and why Ellis Short must shoulder the blame

Ex-Sunderland manager Paulo Di Canio
Ex-Sunderland manager Paulo Di Canio

Paolo Di Canio insists he has “no regrets” about his time in charge at Sunderland - and says chairman Ellis Short must shoulder some of the blame.

Di Canio kept Sunderland in the Premier League, but was then sacked just six games into the 2013-14 season after a dressing room revolt against the Italian.

In an interview with talkSPORT, he has spoken about his time at the club and owner Short.

“The problem [at Sunderland] wasn’t the player and is still not,” said Di Canio.

“It is the board, the chairman, the first responsible person.

“If they don’t deliver a straight and clear philosophy.

“If the players have too much power, everytime they decide. It is not Di Canio. Poyet, after one year, sacked, Martin O’Neill and [Steve] Bruce - two British managers and two foreign managers gone in a few years.

“It is not only about Paolo Di Canio. Di Canio for one reason, O’Neill for one reason, Poyet for one reason.

“It means there is a problem there, which is not the manager, in some way.”

He added: “It is about being backed, especially if you want to deliver a new philosophy.

“The players think they know everything, diet, how long they train, they are never happy.”

When asked whether his experiences at Sunderland had left him bitter, Di Canio said: “Absolutely not.

“When you are a manager you know you can be sacked after two games or two years.

“It is not easy but how can I forget English football? This is the football that gave me the chance and I did something good as a manger.

“My feeling is the Premier League is the best in the world.

“It has been two years since I have been out of football, I am waiting for the right project.”

The Italian has no regrets about his time in charge at the Stadium of Light.

Di Canio added: “I don’t have a lot of regret.

“I won’t change what my idea or philosophy is, in life but specifically in football. Work, work, work.

“It is obvious though, that sometimes you have to be more flexible sometimes.”

Di Canio reportedly banned his players from using mobile phones and eating condiments like tomato ketchup and mayonnaise - a stance he defended.

He added: “If you have a car, a Ferrari, do you put sugar or salt in your engine? No you put petrol in – the right petrol.

“You need to start from the little things. I think a professional athlete at any level has to look after themselves.

“You have a specific diet in England and you can have a lot of ketchup and mayonnaise.

“I don’t think it’s a big sacrifice to help your stomach and liver to work better because it is your body system that helps you have less injuries, better performances in training sessions and to prepare yourself for the best match you can.”