Sunderland defender claims he was almost ‘destroyed’ by Paolo Di Canio
Phil Bardsley was the unlikely match winner for Sunderland on Sunday as they beat Manchester City by a single goal, with the full-back delighted to be back in favour at the Stadium of Light.
November 12th, 2013
Bardsley was frozen out of the picture under former manager Paolo Di Canio and suggests that the Italian was about to “destroy” the ex-Manchester United player, although Gus Poyet’s subsequent arrival has led to his re-instalment to the team.
Bardsley was pictured on the floor of a casino last season covered in £50 notes and then mocked the team on social media following their opening day defeat to Fulham, although things have changed since for the right-back.
“Any footballer has to do his talking on the pitch,” he told the Daily Mail. “There were a few situations I was involved in which were difficult for me and my family at the time. That’s all in the past now: you’ve got to be mentally strong in this game or it will destroy you.
“Thankfully for me, I’m quite tough upstairs so I stayed strong. I knew that I had to offer this football club a little bit more than I had at the time.”
Bardsley is firmly back in favour with the supporters following his winning goal on Sunday, revealing that the fans don’t know the full story of what happened with him and Di Canio.
“I went over the advertising hoardings against City and I think a couple of people in the crowd patted me on the back. That was nice. A few months ago I would probably have got chinned.
“I hope the fans know what I’m about. People who really know me know what I’m all about. I love playing football, I love playing for Sunderland. I’m one of these footballers who, when I cross the white line, I’ll put in performances where I wear my heart on my sleeve and when I get the ball I try to be brave with it.
“The things that happened were so disappointing. The supporters probably don’t know the full extent of what happened over the summer. It’s history now. There’s a new manager, a new lease of life and I’m loving playing under Gus Poyet.”