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Sunderland Name Paolo Di Canio Manager After Firing Martin O'Neill

Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIMarch 31, 2013

Sunderland have wasted no time in finding a replacement manager for Martin O'Neill, hiring Paolo Di Canio as their new manager for the rest of the year.

According to BBC Sport, Di Canio has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal at the Stadium of Light, with his first task that of saving the club from relegation.

The Black Cats are currently winless through their past eight games and have slipped to just one point above the relegation zone.

With only seven games remaining in the Premier League season, Sunderland will seemingly have a real fight on their hands to stay alive —which, when you think about it, makes Di Canio the perfect man for the job. 

Di Canio led Swindon Town to League Two success last season, but he has no managerial experience in the English Premier League. He does, however, have playing experience in the league, which saw him chalk up seasons at Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham United and Charlton Athletic

Moreover, Di Canio has the passion and energy needed to fire up Sunderland over the remaining seven games and awaken the talent that has gone dormant inside them.

Known as a very enigmatic player during his time in the league, Di Canio's wholehearted enthusiasm could well be a huge catalyst for change at the Stadium of Light—which could well be the difference between staying up or going down at the end of the year.

And while Sunderland won't admit to it, the reality is that should they drop to the championship, Di Canio is a great manager to have there.

His experience in the lower leagues will be invaluable to the club, and he could win them back to the top flight as a result.

Sunderland chairman Ellis Short said of Di Canio's hiring (via BBC):

Paolo is hugely enthused by the challenge that lies ahead of him. He is passionate, driven and raring to get started. 

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.

Di Canio has won 54 of his 95 games as a manager so far (all at Swindon Town) and will be looking to improve on his 57 percent winning percentage here.

However, with the chance to keep a struggling club from being relegated, it seems everything else will be secondary to that for the dynamic Italian manager.

Di Canio's first game in charge will be against Chelsea on April 7.

 

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