As their 2012-13 Premier League season was spiraling and the team has headed to certain relegation to the Championship division, Sunderland brought in Paolo Di Canio to turn things around and keep the club in the Premier League. Di Canio did just that as he helped lead Sunderland to safety with a 3-0 win over rivals Newcastle United as a highlight of his reign at the end of the 2012-13 league season.
Over the summer, Di Canio made it a point of declaring and stating that he was going to overhaul the Sunderland squad as many of the players on the team where not serious professionals and those who did not fit with the type of player he wanted would see shown the exit door. As a result, Sunderland embarked on a massive overhaul of the squad as many new players where brought in with the likes of Emanuele Giaccherini and Jozy Altidore being a few of the newcomers and players like Stephane Sessegon leaving.
All the summer activity in the transfer market has not translated into results as only a draw against Southampton has been the only points Sunderland have registered so far in five league games. After the most recent loss on Saturday to West Bromwich Albion (West Brom) by a score of 3-0, serious questions about the future of Di Canio as coach of Sunderland must be asked. Based on how things have gone so far and what lies ahead, things are not going to get better for Sunderland and it would be best if Di Canio were relived of his duties as coach.
There are a number of reasons to believe and suggest that Sunderland needs to part ways with Di Canio as coach. For starters, Di Canio made too many player changes during the summer. While this might sound odd given that one could argue the team they had last season barely finished 17th in league standings, the fact is that making such a drastic overhaul of a squad rarely works or produces the effect desired. Best example of this was Queens Park Rangers (QPR) who last season under Mark Hughes and then Harry Redknapp overhauled the team both during the summer and winter transfer windows. The result was that QPR were relegated and never looked like a cohesive team on the field of play.
The second reason that Sunderland should part ways with Di Canio is due to the fact that Di Canio’s ways could end up alienating the players on the team. While a combative and loose-tongued approach helped Di Canio when he came in last season, such an act and way of coaching can only last so long before players begin to tune the coach out and they lose confidence/respect for the coach. While there is no indication yet this is happening with the Sunderland players, that’s not to say that it can’t or won’t happen soon given that Sunderland have games against Liverpool and Manchester United upcoming in league play and therefore, could fall further behind in the relegation battle.
While Paolo Di Canio provided the necessary shock therapy needed to wake Sunderland up and help guide them to relegation safety at the end of last season, that same remedy is clearly not working so far and it shows no signs that things will get any better for Sunderland. For the long-term benefit of the club and it’s players, it may be best for Sunderland and Paolo Di Canio to part ways.