Martin O’Neill condemns Paolo Di Canio as a charlatan
The Republic of Ireland have just installed Martin O’Neill as their new manager and the Northern Irishman has now gone public on the disastrous Paolo Di Canio regime at the Stadium of Light.
November 11th, 2013
O’Neill is clearly unhappy that he was replaced by the Italian at Sunderland last season, with Di Canio making a number of claims about the squad that was inherited including that there was a lack of fitness among the ranks.
While the latter succeeded in keeping the Black Cats in the Premier League last season, the start to the current campaign saw the team reside at the bottom of the table and Gus Poyet has now been briefed with improving fortunes at the Wearside club.
When asked if he was disappointed by some of Di Canio’s comments after taking over Sunderland last term, O’Neill replied: “Paolo Di Canio? That managerial charlatan – absolutely, yes.
“Paolo stepped in there and basically, as weeks ran on, he ran out of excuses. I had a wry smile to myself.
“It’s like a 27-year-old manager stepping in and the first thing you do is criticise the fitness of the team beforehand. If you’ve ever seen Aston Villa play, you’ll see the one thing I pride myself on is teams being fit.
“What you’ll find interesting is that when he started the team wasn’t fit for the Chelsea game. Then the following week when he won at Newcastle, not being fit wasn’t mentioned.
“Then about two weeks later they got mauled by Aston Villa, someone asked him about the fitness. Suddenly, he didn’t know where to go. Because the team, as it progresses, should be getting more fit.
“And then, at the start of the season, when he lost by a late goal at Southampton, he was asked about the fitness regime, that he was going to have them the fittest team in the league. Suddenly, the fitness wasn’t for that game but for Christmas, when the winter months set in. You know, I did have a wry smile at that one.”
O’Neill and Roy Keane have been briefed with improving the Republic of Ireland’s fortunes, with the former admitting that he was disappointed not to have been given more time at the Stadium of Light.
“I was very disappointed at the outcome. I think I would have garnered the five points necessary to have stayed up and [had] the chance maybe to have changed the side.”