Sunderland name Di Canio as head coach

Sunderland appointed flamboyant Italian Paolo Di Canio as head coach on Sunday in place of Martin O'Neill who was sacked by the Premier League strugglers on Saturday.

Di Canio, who enjoyed a colourful playing career with clubs including Juventus, AC Milan, Lazio, West Ham United and Celtic among others, joined 16th-placed Sunderland on a two-and-a-half year contract six weeks after quitting third-tier Swindon Town. “Paolo is hugely enthused by the challenge that lies ahead of him. He is passionate, driven and raring to get started,” chairman Ellis Short said on the club's website ( “The sole focus of everyone for the next seven games will be to ensure we gain enough points to maintain our top-flight status. I think that the chances of that are greatly increased with Paolo joining us.” Fans are likely to be divided over the appointment of Di Canio, who has no experience of top-flight management and inherits a team hovering one point above the relegation zone.