Sacked Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio's style 'led to his downfall'

Italian's heavy-handed tactics may have soured ties with Sunderland players, says Hull boss

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 September, 2013, 10:54pm

Hull manager Steve Bruce believes Paolo Di Canio's heavy-handed managerial style was one of the key reasons that led to the Italian's downfall as he was sacked as Sunderland head coach on the weekend.

Despite saving the club from relegation last season, a woeful start to the new campaign leaves them rooted to the bottom of the table with just one point from five games.

"You cannot manage in the Premier League these days through a fear factor," Bruce said. "You've got to be able to manage individuals.

"Man management has become more relevant in my experience than coaching. Once you get yourself in the Premier League, they're all good players and you've got to find a way of getting the best out of them.

"It's never been my style to criticise anyone in public and I'm disappointed for Paolo. He's a character.

"Management is a lonely place and he's lost his job this morning. I feel sorry for any manager in that position. I've gone through it and it's not nice."

Reports of a bust-up with two senior players and lack of trust within the dressing room over Di Canio's approach were also believed to have forced club owner Ellis Short to bring down the axe.

However, there was also disbelief at the sacking with former England captain and Newcastle icon Alan Shearer defending the Italian. "I really am amazed. Paolo Di Canio hasn't changed from the guy he was a year or two ago," he said. "I assume, maybe naively, that Ellis Short and his chief executive did their homework on Paolo before they hired him."

Short's next task is to find a replacement for the man he appointed in a storm of controversy last year. Critics rounded on Di Canio's alleged fascist sympathies, prompting the club to make a stout defence of their new manager.

After debates about his political views had died down, Di Canio kept Sunderland in the Premier League thanks in part to a memorable 3-0 victory over rivals Newcastle at St James' Park, but little else in his regime went right.

Former Sunderland captain Kevin Ball, currently on the club's coaching staff, steps in to lead the team on a short-term basis, with the club saying a permanent replacement for Di Canio would be announced "in due course".

Bookmakers immediately rated former Chelsea and West Brom manager Roberto Di Matteo as favourite, narrowly ahead of Gus Poyet, previously boss at Brighton.

Following Sunderland's 3-0 defeat at West Bromich Albion on Saturday, Di Canio walked over to face the travelling supporters, who made their feelings clear.

"I absorb the insults as it's part of the game - if I was in their position I'd be furious," he said. "But I'm professional: 24 hours a day I work for this cause. One day, if I receive the full support from the players, we will turn the corner."

That support had never materialised as Di Canio became the Premier League's first managerial casualty this season.


Send to a friend

To forward this article using your default email client (e.g. Outlook), click here.

Enter multiple addresses separated by commas(,)