Paolo Di Canio has warned his Sunderland players that they must forget the notion of taking days off if they are to prove a success, reports Sky
The former West Ham striker took over at Sunderland following Martin O’Neill’s dismissal last month and immediately hit out at the players’ fitness levels.
He has now scrapped Wednesdays off – a tradition instilled under O’Neill – and has his players working a seven day routine if they are to sharpen up their efforts to survive in the Premier League and potentially chase silverware in the years to come.
Di Canio takes charge of his first game at the Stadium of Light when Everton visit the North East on Saturday afternoon, and the charismatic Italian believes that the relentless routine will help the players focus on the task at hand.
He said: “When we lose, I see many sad faces so why not work harder to have more days smiling? I go mad if I hear anyone complaining about working on a Wednesday.
“Even in the Premier League today, the mentality of some is the same as it was when I was at West Ham. Sundays off, Wednesdays off. But I was always in. I accepted the culture but I never had a day off.
“We are not talking about miners’ work but one-and-a-half hours out on the pitch, playing football.
“And don’t say it puts you under pressure because you feel heavy and can’t run on a Saturday. No.
“Sport scientists say, ‘We need Wednesdays off because there is too much pressure.’ Pressure? What pressure? It gives you more opportunity to improve tactically, technically and physically.
“It can be a simple tactical session to correct something we have done wrong or to make clearer what we want on the field.”
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