Sunderland's boss believes that overcoming Newcastle in Sunday's Tyne-Wear confrontation will give the Black Cats an all-important morale boost in their fight against relegation
The Italian, who will be taking charge of only his second Sunderland game since replacing Martin O'Neill, insists he is not feeling the pressure of the derby or relegation.
He told reporters: “My character doesn’t let me feel pressure because I’m not worried.
“Everything I do will be with the maximum desire. I feel that responsibility, but I don’t feel pressure.
“I work so hard and I’m not worried, because we do things. It’s not just about trying, or hoping in your life. We do things.”
Di Canio acknowledged that bragging rights and morale will be on the line when the two local rivals clash on Sunday at St James' Park.
He added: “Officially, it is only three points but, in general, it would count for 10.
“Because if you win Sunday you have a chance to win with a home game next against Everton.
“I won’t say we will then be safe but in two games it can make a big difference.
"First we have to make sure we stay up - that will be okay.
“Newcastle is a massive club, we know that, but Sunderland is a massive club. The problem is that this massive club has not been used in the right way.
“This club has spent big money and it is not acceptable for the club to have been where it is for the last two years.
“But with the right organisation and plan and policy in the future, if we stay up, these things will change.
“We want to fight for something other than just avoiding relegation.”