Paolo Di Canio denies 'training ground bust-up' as he speaks out for the first time on his Sunderland reign being 'unfairly cut short'

The Italian was dismissed after just five games of the new season

Paolo Di Canio has put across his side of the story for the first time since he was dismissed as manager of Sunderland.

The disposed manager claims many of the stories written about him and the end of his tenure are untrue, feels he was unfairly dismissed and has expressed a desire to return to management in England.

The Italian, who was drafted in late last term following the sacking of Martin O'Neill, was given just five games of the current campaign before being given his marching orders.

The Black Cats were winless at the time - and with just one point to their name - a position they remain in after Kevin Ball took caretaker charge of their 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday.

Stories emerged of player unrest at the Stadium of Light, with Di Canio's methods being labelled 'old school' and unworkable in the modern era. It emerged that senior players took their grievances to the Sunderland hierarchy after being challenged by Di Canio to do so. However, the Italian has played down those reports.

"There has been a lot written in the media in recent days, much of it wholly untrue," he said in a statement. "There was no training ground bust up as some are reporting and many of the players have since sent me messages thanking me for my time as their manager and helping them to improve as footballers."

Sunderland escaped relegation last season thanks to two wins under Di Canio. One of those came against rivals Newcastle United, a moment Di Canio referred to as a "highlight" and "something I will always remember".

Over the summer, 14 new players were brought in to the club and Di Canio felt he deserved more time to work with and integrate the new arrivals.

"When you bring in 14 new players, many from overseas and very few with Premiership experience it is going to take time for them to adapt to the English game and to gel as a team. As I have said many times, I love English football and I feel that my time at the club has been unfairly cut short as given the chance, I am certain that had I been allowed longer, I would have been able to develop the team to achieve the success Sunderland fans desire.

"We could see that results had not gone as well as any of us had hoped, but I felt as a team we could turn things around.

Di Canio, whose only previous experience as a manager came at Swindon Town, hopes his time at Sunderland does not hamper his chances of landing another job in England.

"I remain confident in my ability and I want to manage again in England as soon as I can. When things like this happen it is important to take something positive from it. I have learnt a lot from my brief time at Sunderland and I am sure that this will only make me a better manager in my next job.

"Even though my time at the club ended prematurely, I would like to thank Sunderland for giving me my first opportunity to be a Premier League manager."

Sunderland are yet to appoint a full-time replacement.

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