'Hand grenade' manager Di Canio outlines big changes at Sunderland

The new Black Cats boss, whose appointment was surrounded by controversy concerning his political beliefs, has promised to implement a stricter regime on Wearside
Recently appointed Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio, whose style was once described as “management by hand grenade” by ex-Swindon chief executive Nick Watkins, is preparing to shake up his new squad.

The fiery Italian claims the Black Cats were too comfortable under former boss Martin O’Neill, and plans a number of strict changes, which includes scrapping their traditional day off, in an effort to steer the club clear of relegation.

“Management by hand grenade is a label that didn’t help me, to be honest,” Di Canio told reporters.

“In some ways it caused some problems for me in the past. The fact is I brought success to Swindon for 21 months.

“The players will have to get used to some new ideas and methods.

“There will not be a big revolution, otherwise the shock would be even bigger, but I will introduce some changes in terms of how long we spend in training sessions.

“Before, they used to have a Wednesday off. With me, they will never have a Wednesday off because Wednesday is one of the crucial days for me.

“When a footballer is working only one or two hours and they have 22 hours’ free time, how can you give them Sunday off, Wednesday off?

“This is in my principles, so this is already a big change, I’m sure. But we need to have not only physical sessions but, more importantly, technical, tactical sessions.”

Sunderland had not won in eight matches prior to O’Neill’s dismissal, and Di Canio has been forced to take drastic measures in the hunt for survival.

The 44-year-old is imposing greater dietary control and has banned alcohol consumption, promising to fine any player that cannot abide by his new rules.

“If I discovered one of my players had drunk, not on a Friday but even a Monday night, I would fine him,” the Italian continued.

“If you are talking about a glass of red wine during dinner with family on a Monday night or Tuesday night, that’s good because we know red wine is good for the heart. But forget about alcohol on Thursday, Friday. I don’t think this team have this habit – I hope not!

“This is my regime. I do not want my players to abuse alcohol. I hope not, because it is not acceptable.

“We have a big privilege and they are obliged and have a responsibility to be as fit as they can.’’