Di Canio aims for fittest ever Cats
PAOLO DI CANIO is plotting a brutal examination of his players’ fitness at Sunderland.
Di Canio’s squad start pre-season training today, with the Italian determined to make them as healthy as any team in the Premier League.
The manager was unhappy about the fitness levels of the players he inherited from Martin O’Neill.
And he has warned them to prepare for a punishing time when they arrive at a training camp in Italy next week.
Di Canio, who twice used the same venue while in charge at Swindon, said: “You will see the fittest Sunderland team there has ever been.”
The players will train at least twice a day, a regime that was welcomed by defender Carlos Cuellar.
“Last season, you could see the players pick up injuries or cramp because we were working so hard to win every match,” said Cuellar (right).
“Sometimes, you give more than 100 per cent, and we didn’t have that extra fitness.
“I don’t think we’re going to have that problem next year.”
Di Canio is desperate to tie up at least five more new signings before the squad leave for their boot camp.
His top target remains Inter Milan’s Alfred Duncan. Inter don’t want to sell the Ghana star, but are willing to talk to Sunderland about a loan.
The Black Cats boss also wants Wigan’s Callum McMananam, Tottenham’s Tom Huddlestone and Bournemouth’s Matt Ritchie, who played for him at Swindon.
Arsenal keeper Vito Mannone will move to the Stadium of Light once he passes a medical.