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Paolo Di Canio Was Too Good For Sunderland, Says Paolo Di Canio

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BREAKING NEWS: Paolo Di Canio still loves Paolo Di Canio.

Tony Marshall

No, you didn't read that headline wrong. Paolo Di Canio has claimed that the reason he struggled at Sunderland was because he was too good a manager for the players.

The Italian made the quite remarkable claim in an interview on the BBC's Football Focus program to be screened at Saturday lunchtime.

Okay, so you don't expect humility from any sacked manager, least of all Paolo Di Canio. They have a reputation to protect - well, usually restore - so their recollections are always going to be heavily slanted in their favour. That's fine. I can understand that.

There is something of a point of principle here, though, surely? Management is about adapting to what you have, getting the most from it, and turning resources into points. That's it. The job stripped down to its bare bones.

You can't essentially say "give me Messi, Lahm, Ronaldo, Ribery and Ki Sung-Yueng and watch me be brilliant!". Doing well with ideal resources is no real challenge. The art of management is making your achievement outstrip your resources.

He didn't do that. He did well to keep Sunderland up (let's not totally rewrite history here) but his overall record was abysmal and this season the manner of it was atrocious. In fact, you could easily argue that what he did here was the antithesis of good management.

He took good quality and pedigree players like John O'Shea and made them look awful. There was no tactical thought given to minimising their weaknesses. It was a case of putting them in a position where their weaknesses stood out and then publicly blasting them for not being perfect.

I was taken in somewhat at times by Di Canio and I genuinely did root for him to turn it around. Should we survive this season I'll hold him in no animosity at all. I'd actually remember him fondly for the short-term impact that saved us.

But come on Paolo, don't insult our intelligence. He had a tremendous opportunity here, one greater than he had earned by rights, and he blew it. The tall tales are fooling no one.