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The 44-year-old Italian claims he will ignore fascist-style chants from Newcastle fans this weekend as Sunderland continue their fight for survival in the North East derby

Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio insists any fascist-style chanting from Newcastle supporters won't affect him during this weekend's North East derby.

There have been concerns that the game at St James' Park on Sunday, coupled with the recent appointment of the controversial Italian, could spark trouble amoungst supporters.

The police have warned against fans gesturing distastfully towards the new Black Cats' manager, but Di Canio insists he will only pay attention to the Sunderland faithful, heading into a vital clash for their Premier League survival and local bragging rights. 

DI CANIO ISSUES BATTLE CRY
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“Why? I don’t feel nothing or hear them. For sure, I will hear much more the 2,000 Sunderland fans, who will be much more loud than the 50,000 of Newcastle. I will absorb their energy," he told The Mirror.

“When I was a footballer, especially away fans, they were an extra lift.

“Away from home, they would sing, ‘Paolo Di Canio’ and I wanted to score and celebrate. Now I am a manager I am only focused towards my players.”

Meanwhile, after criticising his players, claiming the former regime under Martin O'Neill has left them lacking in fitness, the former Swindon manager admits he can't make major alterations at this late stage in the season.

“We don’t want such a risk as at this stage of the season you can cause problems to the players," he added.

“So I can’t work in the way I would like to do. That is very difficult, you have to do it gradually.

“At this moment I have to make sure the few changes I make are the right ones.”

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