Black Cats boss warns players to integrate.
Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has warned his new stars that they must learn English and integrate with their new teammates quickly, The Sun reports.
The fiery Italian signed 14 players during the summer transfer window – with 13 of them coming from overseas, and in the week that FA chairman Greg Dyke raised concerns about the number of foreigners signed by Sunderland, Di Canio insisted there will be no cliques.
Instead, the Black Cats coach is looking for unity and for his players to become teammates on and off the pitch, in a hope that that sense of team spirit can improve their fortunes in the Premier League, as they only narrowly avoided relegation last season after some poor performances and results under previous manager Martin O’Neill.
Although Di Canio himself is not English, he will have gained a great deal of valuable experience from his days as a player in the Premier League on the importance of integrating into a new country and culture.
“If we are a united group, we can achieve a lot more and, for that reason, we have to mix and share as much as possible,” he said.
“It’s only natural that players who speak the same language will want to talk in that language.
“But as a group we must speak English and it’s important the players who do not speak English learn as quickly as possible.
“I will make sure we get that togetherness and not split up into little groups.” And in a swipe at predecessor Martin O’Neill, Di Canio added: “Before and after training we now spend more time together. We don’t arrive at the last minute and leave at the first opportunity anymore.
“We stay and talk – English with French, Irish with Swedish and so on – and we’re working hard to create the best environment.
“There are many different languages, but the difficulty is not on the pitch – where players understand and communicate through body language – it’s about getting that togetherness off the pitch.
“But that is coming and we will continue to work on it because it’s important.
“I’m lucky that our new signings are all intelligent people and they are joining intelligent players at the club.
“We’re spending a lot of time in each other’s company, so that we can build confidence in each other.”
Di Canio as been the manager at the Stadium Of Light since March, having previously impressed with his work in the lower leagues with former side Swindon Town.