Adam Johnson backs under-fire Paolo Di Canio over hardline approach to squad

Following the 'worst season of my career', Johnson admits that if it provides results, he's backing the boss

Sunderland winger Adam Johnson has backed manager Paolo Di Canio after his management style has received criticism since he took over the reins at the Stadium of Light.

Di Canio was appointed as manager following the sacking of Martin O’Neill in March, and he has admitted there is a poor environment in terms of discipline at the club that needs changing if Sundlerland are to be successful.

The Italian fined seven squad members last week as well as dropping defenders Phil Bardsley and Matthew Kilgallon, after the two were pictured on a night out at a casino on Tuesday with Bardsley lying on the floor covered in £50 notes.

Reports have surfaced that some of the players that received a fine have complained to the Professional Footballers’ Associatio about Di Canio’s actions, but Johnson feels that if the outcome is positive results, then he backs it fully.

“The gaffer is big on discipline and if it means us getting more wins, I'm all for it,” confessed Johnson. "There's nothing worse than losing game after game all season. I haven't been used to that in my career, so it's been difficult.

"It's been very poor. The table doesn't lie. The only thing that we can say is that the only way is up for us now. We can't get any lower to be honest. We survived and now next season all we can do is progress. That's the positive way of looking at it."

The former Manchester City players joined the Black Cats last summer, and he has admitted that his own performances have not been up to scratch as well as the overall team performance throughout the season.

The 25-year-old said: “I'm looking forward to next season and I want to improve. As far as I'm aware, I'll be here. Over the summer you never know, it's always up to the manager. Time will tell what happens. It's been the worst season of my career as a whole.

"I actually haven't been that bad on the stats side of things, but performances haven't been what I've wanted. If you go through goals and assists, I haven't done that bad but (my) performances have been sometimes. As a whole you look at yourself and you're honest with yourself. In general, everything hasn't gone well. We've got to look forward to next season now. It's all we can do."