Paolo Di Canio: Shearer shocked by Sunderland sacking

MOTD3 pundits reflect on Paolo Di Canio's sacking at Sunderland

Sunderland's decision to sack Paolo Di Canio as manager just five games into the Premier League season has amazed BBC Sport's Alan Shearer.

Italian Di Canio, 45, won only three of his 13 matches after being appointed in March 2013 and took just one point from five top-flight games this campaign.

Sunderland remain bottom of the table after Saturday's 3-0 loss at West Brom.

"I really am amazed. He hasn't changed from the guy he was a year or two ago," said Match of the Day's Alan Shearer.

"I assumed, maybe naively, that Sunderland owner Ellis Short and his chief executive did their homework on Paolo before they went and hired him to do the job.

"So they knew what his man-management style was like. It is very different. He hasn't changed, he was like that at Swindon. He had the rows with players in his previous job; we heard all the rumours about players not liking him.

"Surely the guys at Sunderland knew that and asked questions about what he was like. He hasn't changed. He's still exactly the same guy as he was beforehand."

Di Canio faces furious Sunderland fans

Sunderland had brought in 14 new players in the summer with Di Canio working with director of football Roberto De Fanti and chief scout Valentino Angeloni on their transfers.

Shearer believes that the number of new players will make it difficult for whoever takes over at the club with Roberto Di Matteo the bookies' favourite, followed by Gus Poyet, Alex McLeish and Tony Pulis.

"For them to give him £19m to spend in the summer and the power to let players like Stephane Sessegnon leave and then five games into the season say 'I'm sorry but what we've seen so far is not good enough, we're getting rid of you, we're sacking you' - I'm absolutely staggered," added the former Newcastle striker and manager.

"Not only have they appointed him - they've appointed a load of backroom staff that he brought in. Now the owner could say to the new manager 'you've got to work with the backroom guys that are here already'. It could cost them an absolute fortune."

Former Sunderland winger Kevin Kilbane believes the club took a big risk by appointing the Italian in the first place.

Speaking on BBC Sport's Match of the Day 3, he said: "It was a huge gamble to give Di Canio the job.

"The gamble was that there were seven games to go and they needed to stay in the Premier League.

"They wanted an impact and he managed to keep them up last season. But it was a short-term appointment, not a long-term one.

"Di Canio questioned the players' diet, their desire and their heart. He questioned them as players and as people, so it's no surprise if they are unhappy."

Meanwhile, former Wales midfielder Robbie Savage feels Di Canio should have been given more time.

"Sunderland should have at least given Di Canio until the Newcastle game at home to see if he could turn it around," he said.

"Lots of players signed and one point in five games is not good enough, but he kept them up last year when they seemed down."

The Italian, who was Sunderland's fifth manager in five years, succeeded Martin O'Neill at the Stadium of Light on 31 March after guiding Swindon to promotion from League Two in 2012.

His appointment immediately attracted controversy but Sunderland narrowly avoided relegation, thanks partly to a famous 3-0 win over Newcastle - their first victory at St James' Park over over their local rivals in 13 years.

But public criticism of his squad at the end of last season was followed by a ban on mobile phones, tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and ice in Coca-Cola at the club's training ground.

After Saturday's loss, Di Canio was verbally abused by travelling supporters and further criticism of his players led to anger among the squad.

Martyn McFadden, editor of Sunderland fanzine A Love Supreme, believes Di Canio wanted more of a say in transfer dealings.

"His position as head coach means the director of football signed all of those players," said McFadden. "We've got this European model now in place at Sunderland and I think that was also one of the issues.

"Di Canio is quite a control freak and he wasn't really in charge of that side of things. He has gone on record as saying he wasn't happy with some of the players we've signed and then soon after he was sacked."

But former chairman Niall Quinn, who also played for and briefly managed the club, believes extrovert Di Canio's management style may have been his downfall.

"It's a quick decision, some will say too quick," he told Sky Sports News.

"They're making a quick decision on this again and looking back, the support he got in the summer with the players he brought in, I honestly thought he was going to get longer no matter the start.

"If we start to peel the layers off in the coming days and find out what life was like under him from various players, you'll probably see a story that says this was a guy who did things in a totally unique way and by the looks of things the players weren't buying into it.

"They've made a very brave decision to appoint him, they got what they wanted out of him, and now they've made a brave decision (for him) to go. It wouldn't have been my style. I think I would probably have tried to give people as much time as possible."

Top Stories