By Mark Finlay
The Black Cats Italian manager Paulo Di Canio has decided to change the culture in the Sunderland dressing room starting with his player’s lifestyles.
The first thing to be banned were all mobile phones, along with singing in the showers, something that the Italian boss feels is distracting, and then there is food with no more ketchup, mayonnaise, and ice in coke cola being allowed.
”This is a complete revolution. “It’s not just in the way we play, but in how we approach everything. It’s been difficult.
‘If someone comes inside with a mobile phone, even in the bag, I will take it and throw it away in the North Sea. Even coffee before a game or training can be a problem. You can have coffee but three or four hours before. Coffee can reflect into your mood, your perception of the training. Have coffee when you get up, at breakfast, not before going out.”
“I know many players who had ice with coke the night before games,” said Sunderland’s manager before Saturday’s visit of Fulham. “It causes congestion and they can’t play properly.”
“The way the medical staff link with players, for example. Before, when players said: ‘I’ve been out and drunk seven beers,’ the masseurs participated. They wouldn’t say: ‘it’s not good, it’s wrong’. We had a meeting with the medical staff. There was friction because you touch an environment. When I talked for a bit it was: ‘OK, revolution, fantastic’.
Before, players and physios formed too many close relationships. The physio would say: ‘I’ll tell the manager you need a rest’. Now I say to the physio: ‘tell me exactly why he needs a rest, because I have knowledge’. If he can’t give me a specific reason it’s because he wants to remain close with the player. That’s a big problem.”
Di Cano then took a shot at former player Titus Bramble who had been quoted as saying that the Italian did not know what he was doing.
“Someone will always be unhappy, like some stupid guy that left already,” he said. “If you ought to be 88 kilos and you are 104.8 kilos then you won’t like my regime. And that’s a regular footballer, not one after six months out injured. It’s just unprofessional, an insult to a real professional. He can maintain his opinion, but he’s probably not very clever.”