Di Canio declared himself satisfied, despite the outcome, and said the pitch had not been quite as bad as he initially feared.
"The pitch was difficult but it was also difficult for them because they have fantastic ability," the Italian said.
"Thinking about it last night I thought it would be a worse pitch. But they put a lot of sand in the middle of the pitch and actually it wasn't that bad."
After rescuing the Black Cats from relegation last season, Di Canio has now had chance to make his mark properly.
"Some players still don't know what I want from them exactly but we still have a long time," he said. "Even some top players are never going to change their mentality, but this process can be up and down.
"There is no way we are overtraining the players though. Last year some of them under trained.
"We have to be careful because we have a plan we know we can pay a price."