The decision surprised many after Cabral impressive start to his Sunderland career.
Di Canio said: "He is one player, like many others here. I have good players who have different characteristics on the field. In different games that we play against different opponents, we have different pressure and different ways to play.
"Cabral is a different kind of footballer compared with Craig Gardner, with different characteristics. For this game, I decided to leave him out."
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