Sunderland boss Paolo di Canio admits he feared the chop barely days into the job after he was targeted by sections of the media for his alleged political links.

Di Canio thought he might have been on the verge of the chop by Black Cats owner Ellis Short amid the controversy.

But he has now praised the American billionaire for his "incredible" support.

"For three days after I signed the contract, what happened?" Di Canio told the Sunderland Echo. "I don't have to go through it all again, but look what happened.

"He might have thought, now I'll sack him straight away because he was under pressure.

"Instead he backed me 100 per cent, 1,000 per cent. He supported me in an incredible way."