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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 15 October, 2019

Paolo Di Canio not fazed by fans' chanting

The police have warned against fans gesturing distastefully towards the new Black Cats manager.

SUNDERLAND BOSS PAOLO Di Canio insists any fascist-style chanting from Newcastle supporters won’t affect him during the North East derby.

There have been concerns that the game at St James’ Park on Sunday, coupled with the recent appointment of the controversial Italian, could spark trouble among supporters.

The police have warned against fans gesturing distastefully towards the new Black Cats manager, but Di Canio says he will only pay attention to the Sunderland faithful, heading into a vital clash for their Premier League survival and local bragging rights.

“Why? I don’t feel nothing or hear them. For sure, I will hear much more the 2,000 Sunderland fans, who will be much more loud than the 50,000 of Newcastle. I will absorb their energy,” he said.

“When I was a footballer, especially away fans, they were an extra lift.

“Away from home, they would sing, ‘Paolo Di Canio’ and I wanted to score and celebrate. Now I am a manager I am only focused towards my players.”

Meanwhile, after criticising his players, claiming the former regime under Martin O’Neill has left them lacking in fitness, the former Swindon manager admits he can’t make major alterations at this late stage in the season.

“We don’t want such a risk as at this stage of the season you can cause problems to the players,” he added.

“So I can’t work in the way I would like to do. That is very difficult, you have to do it gradually.

“At this moment I have to make sure the few changes I make are the right ones.”

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