Paolo Di Canio insists 'I never feel pressure' - despite poor start to season from Sunderland

The Black Cats are yet to win this season

Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio has launched a staunch defence of his start at the Stadium of Light and vowed he will lead the Black Cats to a comfortable mid-table position by Christmas.

Di Canio's men head into Saturday's clash with Arsenal having picked up just one point from their first three games - and also have fixtures against Liverpool and Manchester United soon to come.

But Di Canio is adamant he has seen enough encouraging signs to shrug off suggestions that he could start feeling the pressure if his side slump to another defeat against the Gunners.

Di Canio said: "I never feel pressure. Even in 20 games' time if we still had one point I would feel responsible but not under pressure - it is different.

"After three games I am not worried. I know by December we will be nearly in the middle of the table. I'm sure about that. In December, January, February we will win many games and take off.

"I'm sure about my strategy and philosophy and methodology. But it is difficult because in football there is panic, the players sometimes don't believe in things. You have to believe that in 20 games' time you will be in a different position."

Di Canio believes a lack of communication has proved a crucial part in his side's sluggish start, having signed 13 foreign players - including deadline-day buys Fabio Borini and Andrea Dossena - over the summer.

And he has demanded his new boys take it upon themselves to learn English as he seeks to cut out the kind of silly errors which sent them to defeat at Crystal Palace a fortnight ago.

Di Canio added: "I can help but I can't become a school teacher for the foreign players every single moment. They have to think they have decided to come to England so they have to speak English.

"If you are intelligent and you really want to gel with the others you have to think one day I will learn five or 10 key words for the match. It takes five minutes, and it is their responsibility.

"The communication is crucial because it helps you react in time. We must communicate on the field otherwise we will pay a price."

Di Canio could be tempted to start with a brand new strike force against Arsene Wenger's men, with Borini set for his debut and Steven Fletcher pushing for his first start of the season.

Fletcher got off the bench to score at Selhurst Park and while Di Canio doubts if the Scot will be fit enough to play a full match after his long-term ankle injury, he is convinced he can make a big difference.

"We will see during the game if he gets 50 or 60 minutes," added Di Canio. "It is very difficult for me to see him getting 90 minutes at the level I want to see from my players.

"But he is fit enough to score a goal and cause problems for our opponents, and give more belief to my players - give them more energy and motivation to push forward and give him the ball."

Di Canio is set to keep faith in Jack Colback at left-back after singing the Academy product's praises this week. John O'Shea is suspended after his sending-off against Palace.

PA

News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Travel
travel
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations should be regarded as an offensive act
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices