O’Neill brands Sunderland successor Di Canio a ‘charlatan’

The new Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has slated his successor at Sunderland, Paolo Di Canio, calling him a “managerial charlatan”, writes Sky Sports.

O’Neill, who was fired in March as Sunderland became involved in a fight against relegation, has spoken out about Di Canio, who claimed he inherited a squad full of unfit players. Di Canio lasted just 13 matches at the Stadium of Light after a catastrophic start to the current campaign.

O’Neill showed no sympathy for the man who criticised his former squad. “Paolo Di Canio? That managerial charlatan,” he said when asked about the man who replaced him at the stadium of Light.

Paolo stepped in there and basically, as the weeks ran on, he ran out of excuses. I had a wry smile to myself,” O’Neill added.

It was like a 27-year-old manager stepping in and the first thing you do is criticise the fitness of the team. If you’ve ever seen Aston Villa play, you’ll see the one thing I pride myself on is teams being fit.

O’Neill continued to make a mockery of the Italian, who decided to ban tomato ketchup from the club. He said: “I’m hoping that, at some stage or other, John O’Shea (of Sunderland and the Republic of Ireland) asks me at the dinner table to pass him the tomato sauce – I will dispose of it immediately!

If I feel you can’t win games without tomato sauce I will empty it on his plate, with the chips.

Paolo is Italian. John Robertson, my old assistant, once said that, if every team in Italy has pre-match pasta for their meals, how come three of them still get relegated each year? It’s an interesting point, ability might come into it.

O’Neill was recently confirmed as Republic of Ireland manager and decided to appoint Roy Keane as his assistant. The pair replace Giovanni Trapattoni, who failed to take Ireland to next year’s World Cup.

Keane has been a pundit for ITV since losing his job as Ipswich manager in 2011. Keane fell out with the Football Association of Ireland in 2002 at a pre-World Cup camp in Saipan, but FAI boss John Delaney says the air has now cleared between the two.

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