Di Canio defends public criticism of players

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has defended his decision to publicly criticise his players after poor performances.

Di Canio's men are without a win this season, having finished 17th in the Premier League last term.

Their poor start this campaign has seen the Italian openly criticise some of his players, with captain John O'Shea singled out following his sending off in the 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace.

However, Di Canio insists that there is nothing wrong with his approach to discipline, and he believes that players are often given too easy a ride. 

"Harry Redknapp did many interviews last year and no one asked why he said his team was playing rubbish. Why is it only Paolo Di Canio?" he questioned.

"Maybe after three or four games a player will moan about the gaffer and say, 'Oh, it's tough'. The common theory is that there are big egos and if you upset them you have problems and they get upset."

Di Canio was active in the transfer window over the close-season as he set about revamping his squad, following a campaign in which Sunderland finished just three points above the relegation zone. 

And despite the influx of new players, Di Canio feels that he has a strong bond with his current group. 

"My relationship with my players is closer than you think," he continued, ahead of the clash with Arsenal this weekend.

"It means that I can point the finger straight away and say, 'For your level, it is rubbish'.

"You think the new generation is weak? I say if they are weak they cannot play football at this level. It is natural selection."