With the Sunderland Black Cats suffering a devastating home loss against Aston Villa last week and now being only a point above relegation, calls for the ouster of team manager Gus Poyet has become stronger. However, former team manager Paolo Di Canio came to the defence of the beleaguered team head and pointed to bad decisions made by the higher-ups as the main reason for Sunderland’s current plight.

According to Di Canio, poorly executed transfer dealings made by the board are the main reason behind the team’s recent problems. He even asserted that team owner Ellis Short should also be held responsible for these decisions. “It’s not Poyet’s fault, because chairman Ellis Short is the real origin of all these troubles,” Di Canio sternly said

However, the former head also said that Poyet needs to work harder in handling and controlling player behaviour.

“I don’t want to blame Poyet, but if you’re afraid to fine one of your players, then you have to expect some troubles,” Di Canio said in an interview with Fox Sports, noting recent reports of player delinquencies in Sunderland’s ranks.

The former team manager recounted his time with the Black cats. “I was giving fines even for [players being] five minutes late. It’s fundamental, to keep order in the dressing room,” he explained, citing how this has helped improve player diligence.

Di Canio also noted how the team handled such losses during his time. “This never happened because we always played with dignity, regardless of the bad results. I don’t know what’s happening now, but it looks like the team is drifting.” He also recounted how the spectators never left the stadium before the final whistle during his time, saying that the team’s current situation has significantly affected the morale of their supporters.

Sunderland lost by 0-4 against Aston Villa, which is also struggling, with all the latter’s goals being scored before half-time.

Paul Koroma

I learned all about life with a ball at my feet. Soccer allows me to push the limitation of creativity and express myself without saying a word. Soccer is my addiction. I train. I play, and I repeat every single day.

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