O’Shea confirms Sunderland players’ call to remove Di Canio

Sunderland captain John O’Shea has confirmed that he and his teammates called for the removal of manager Paolo Di Canio prior to the Italian’s sacking, Sky Sports has reported.

Di Canio lost his job on September 22 after Sunderland took just one point from their opening five Premier League matches of this season, ending an eventful five-and-a-half month reign which often attracted negative press. During that time, Di Canio incensed several of the players by taking disciplinary action against them, and regularly criticising their performances in public.

Reports quickly surfaced that a training ground argument led to Di Canio’s departure, with members of the first-team squad having words with Sunderland’s chief executive, Margaret Byrne, to complain about their treatment, eventually resulting in owner Ellis Short taking immediate action.

And with Kevin Ball now in caretaker charge, O’Shea admitted that the players did make a stand against Di Canio. The former Manchester United man told the Shields Gazette: “That was obviously done. But we have to move on now. Because of the position we’re in in the league, we can’t keep going back to it. We’ve got some difficult months ahead.

Whoever comes in, whether it’s Bally (Kevin Ball) or a new manager, we’ve got tough times ahead. We have to stick together and if we keep going back to it, it’ll soon be too hard to pull back from where we are.

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