Negativity returns at Sunderland, but don’t count-out Di Canio yet 0

Paolo Di Canio  Aston Villa v Sunderland - Barclays Premier League

The worst possible result, against the worst possible opponent, at the worst possible time.

That’s the summation of Sunderland’s Monday night, and it leaves them bereft of confidence at the most inopportune moment.

…and it also leaves them without their best player for the rest of the season.

If ever there was a manager to promote a short-term bounce, then it was Paolo Di Canio. When Martin O’Neil left the club, the Sunderland players were in desperate need of a different voice - quite obviously they’d stopped responding to O’Neil, and his message had become diluted to the point of redundancy.

Di Canio was a good choice; he’s an extrovert and a notoriously passionate one at that. He’s someone who can inspire change, and someone who has induced better performances over the past few weeks from players who have flattered to deceive right the way through 2012/13.

But it’s different now.

Presumably, there will plenty in the media who will now take the opportunity to deride Di Canio and dismiss him as just an unproven ‘ex-player’ manager with limited experience - a charge he can’t exactly refute. That’s fine, but think about where Sunderland would be without him - think about how that league table would look without the extra six points from the unlikely win at St James’ Park and the impressive victory over Everton.

The picture painted this morning will be very negative, and presumably talk of bubbles bursting won’t be in short supply - but isn’t this the situation that Di Canio needs to actually prove himself?

Any manager can take control of a club and oversee a brief upsurge in form, we’ve seen it time after time, but it’s the good managers who can pick a side up after a demoralising defeat.

The charge against Di Canio is that he’s a one-trick pony, and that he’s over-reliant on motivational bluster and heart-thumping rhetoric; this is the opportunity for him to ram that assessment down some throats.

What did anybody expect: that this limited football with its fragile defence wouldn’t lose again this season? Let’s be realistic, let’s see if Di Canio has brains to go with his brawn. Sunderland aren’t flat-lining yet.

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