Franco Baresi backs under fire countryman Paolo Di Canio

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 11 September 2013, 08:54

Paolo Di CanioItalian legend Franco Baresi has backed his fellow countryman Paolo Di Canio to turn things around at struggling Sunderland following their disappointing start to the season. Di Canio heads into this weekend's game under pressure after recently losing at newly promoted Crystal Palace, but will be hoping that the encouragement and support from Baresi will spark a first win for his side.

Di Canio was criticised for the way he publically slammed his players after the 3-1 defeat at Selhurst Park. The loss left the Black Cats 19th in the table with only a single point to their name from three games. The controversial former Swindon boss remains the 7/4 favourite with Sky Bet in the Premier League Sack Race and expect his odds to tumble even more if the Black Cats lose this weekend.

To add to Di Canio’s problems reports were leaked to the media over the weekend that Sunderland suffered a shock behind-closed-doors friendly defeat to their own under-21 side. In turn the media had a field day, leaving Di Canio absolutely livid. The 3-1 loss to a side that plays their football in the Premier League’s Professional Development League will have done nothing for his players’ confidence ahead of Saturday's daunting fixture at home to Arsenal.

In the meantime Di Canio is involved in Steven Harper’s testimonial at St James’ Park on Wednesday. A Newcastle XI take on an AC Milan Glorie XI featuring Di Canio, who is sure to get a hot reception at the home of the Toon.

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