Sunderland boss Paolo di Canio's questioning of the players' fitness had been confirmed by his predecessor Martin O'Neill, it has been revealed.

The Daily Mail says O'Neill, who spent £30million on signings last summer, told his audience at a recent sponsors' function that the playing squad was physically the weakest he had ever managed.

Successor Paolo Di Canio's new rules include Sunderland players having lunch together at the training ground on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when mobile phones will be banned.