Paolo Di Canio warns Sunderland against Capital One Cup slip-up against MK Dons
Di Canio knows Karl Robinson's League One side well from his time as Swindon manager
Tuesday 27 August 2013
Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio has warned his players they can take nothing for granted as they attempt to launch a Capital One Cup run against MK Dons.
Di Canio knows Karl Robinson's League One side well from his time as Swindon manager and, while he believes their style of football might suit the Black Cats, he is expecting a difficult evening at the Stadium of Light.
He said: "They are good, they are good. I know Karl, I know the way they play - they are a similar team to last year.
"I have told my players, 'Remember this team'. They now have some youngsters, but it's a traditional club where you can find ex-Premier League and Championship footballers with quality and pedigree and in one game. They can cause problems to any side in the Premier.
"Probably in League One, you have a different habit. If you want to play too much football, sometimes you can have a problem.
"But it's a team that will fight for the top six places and they play football like you don't see often in League One.
"With them, we know we are going to have difficulty because they have physical presence, they are strong, they have good athletes and a good system.
"They play very well. But in some ways, it will be easier for us. Once we get the ball, we can play football like we want, like we did at home in the first game against Fulham.
"But anyway, it will be tough, a tough challenge."
MK Dons will arrive on Wearside boasting an unbeaten five-game start to the campaign in all competitions, although they have won only twice, beating Northampton in the first round of the same competition and Crewe in the league.
The two clubs met in the third round of the League Cup last season with goals from Craig Gardner and James McClean securing a 2-0 victory for the Barclays Premier League side at Stadium MK despite Lee Cattermole's first-half dismissal.
However, Sunderland failed to build on the victory and were dumped out of the competition by derby rivals Middlesbrough.
That came as a major disappointment to manager Martin O'Neill, and his successor is placing an equally high priority on the Capital One Cup.
Di Canio said: "If you want to build a winning mentality, it goes in line with the league. It's very, very important.
"It's obvious that, from a company point of view, to maintain the league is crucial.
"To have life, not in terms of the economic situation, but in terms of results, in terms of delivering a winning mentality, we have to take every competition seriously with maximum effort and determination - otherwise we are never going to change the mentality.
"Obviously, you can lose, you can win, you can draw, but we can see if there is desire in facing MK Dons like we have to do against Manchester City.
"If we can change this mentality, we are going to be okay for the future also in the league because a winning habit is very important."
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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