Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio spoke about how he alleviated an altercation between a group of drunken Southampton fans and his staff at Sunderland’s hotel the night before the match at St. Mary’s.
The Sunderland boss was eager to tell reporters what had actually happened after reports emerged that police had to be called to Sunderland’s hotel.
‘We have to clarify because I don’t want speculation, big headlines,’ the Italian said. ‘Paolo Di Canio always says the truth so you write what I am telling you.
‘At midnight, we walked out from a meeting room with my staff together. From the first floor we walked downstairs to take the lift to go to the third floor for bed.
‘Obviously the players went to bed at 10 o’clock or 9.30pm – they were already sleeping.
‘Once we were close to the lift, we heard loud people shouting. I can’t repeat any of it.
‘Obviously their behaviour showed they were Southampton fans, but, to be honest, I don’t think they wanted to attack us physically.
‘They were only three young, drunk guys there after a wedding party that was inside the hotel.
‘They didn’t try to punch us in a clear way but they moved their hands and we stopped them, blocked them.
‘I asked for the police because it wasn’t fair that people inside the hotel attack, verbally and physically, members of my staff. It wasn’t fair.
‘We gave our version and the policeman, at 1.30am, knocked on my door again. I don’t know if he loved me.
‘It was a stupid moment from silly guys under effect of lots of alcohol.
‘At the end, there was a fun a moment. They said ‘we are going to win, Rickie Lambert is going to score’ and Fabrizio (Piccareta, Sunderland assistant manager) said ‘no, tomorrow we’re going to win’. It finished like this.’
The eventual result was a 1-1 draw thanks to a late goal from Jose Fonte to rescue a point for the Saints.