Former Sunderland defender Titus Bramble has openly criticised the club’s manager Paolo Di Canio and suggested that he has a lot to learn if he is to be considered alongside some of the great managers that he has played under in the past.
Di Canio arrived at the Stadium of Light back in March amidst controversy over his past political statements and disagreement as to whether he had the right credentials to lead the Black Cats to safety, with them being among the favourites at the time for relegation. Despite his lack of experience at the top level Di Canio did secure survival for Sunderland, although this was possibly more down to Wigan’s poor run than anything that the Italian instigated. Having survived relegation, Bramble, who was released by the club at the end of May, has come to question Di Canio’s approach; “I’ve never played under anyone like him and I’ve played for some of the best managers around,” the 31 year old said. “He thinks he knows everything, but he has got a lot to learn.”
Di Canio arrived at the Stadium of Light with a confrontational reputation and, after publicly criticising his players and handing out a number of fines to the club’s stars, he has certainly lived up to expectations. Whilst Di Canio may see his approach as instilling a disciplined culture at the club, Bramble thinks that he has gone too far. “He’s targeted the easy players, the ones who are leaving anyway, trying to show he’s the boss. I was fined for not going to a weights session,” the former Newcastle United man said. “His man-management skills need a lot of work,” he added.
Di Canio’s approach to discipline is risky to say the least. Whilst it may work for some players it will certainly cause unrest amongst others and if, like Bramble, too many of the Sunderland squad are rubbed up the wrong way by Di Canio then next season could be very tough for the Black Cats and they will do well to avoid relegation again.