Di Canio tells Sunderland players: Hard work starts NOW

Sunderland boss Paolo di Canio has delivered a passionate warning of what lies ahead for his players under his reign.

Sunderland boss Paolo di Canio has delivered a passionate warning of what lies ahead for his players under his reign.

Di Canio is convinced the players will come to love the new regime as he vowed the club will never again face a relegation fight while he is at the helm.

The Italian, who takes his side to Tottenham tomorrow, warned: "The revolution starts now.

"What I have told the players since the first day I came here is that you don't have to love me, you have to follow me — but we are going to smile together at the end. We are never going to get close as a friend.

"We are never going to go out and have a drink together — well maybe when we win the FA Cup one time but only a half-glass otherwise I get drunk.

"But I've told them I am not going to give you an easy life so you will love me. The first three weeks I adapted myself as an intelligent manager like I am to my players as it was difficult to give a shock otherwise you will have a different effect on them.

"But now the work is on the discipline, the physical condition to make sure we do not sink in some particular game. Now they have to adapt themselves to me. Not because I am God, but because that's what the players had to do with Alex Ferguson.

"You have to follow the manager and if you don't want to — then leave. Before it was an easy life, now it's the tough life and if you don't want to stay under the tough life you are free.

"I am not worried about looking into their eyes and telling them that. I am not worried if they get upset and go against me in the training as one day, probably, they will understand.

"We might lose one player, but the other 10 will want to remain and they will give 200 per cent. It happened when I was at Swindon. Everybody blamed my way to lead the players, saying it is too tough, but I didn't have one request to leave. They all said I want to stay with you gaffer.

"One player left and came back within two days and said 'please gaffer even if I don't play one game can I stay with you as from you I learn'.

"I deliver the mentality, not my own players.

"I have gone in front of my players this week and said 'this is a fine for you and this is a fine for you. I asked the club to fine you the maximum possible for this kind of conduct. If you want to argue here are the rules. You can appeal to the PFA'.

"I did that not because I want to be like 'now we got dictator' but I have to take the responsibility. Never say never but probably we are never going to win the league.

"We have to be honest, but we are never going to suffer like we did in the last few years."

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