Paolo Di Canio: 'I don't need to apologise'
New Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio insists he is not fazed by the recent criticism of his political beliefs and is sure he will be a success at the Stadium of Light.
Di Canio's appointment has caused major controversy with former Labour MP David Miliband immediately resigning from his role as the club's vice-chairman and non-executive director, citing the coach's "past political statements" as the reason for his departure.
This was followed by Football Against Racism in Europe director Piara Powar calling on the former Swindon boss to clarify his political beliefs.
The Italian, however, who released a statement on Monday saying that he is not a racist, believes that while everyone is entitled to their own views, he is confident in his own abilities as a person and as a manager to succeed in the Premier League.
"I have a massive respect for everyone's opinion and their job but I don't care about what I can read or what I can hear from," he said. "Because I know who I am, I know which knowledge I've got and I know I'm capable of doing my job."
He added: "I don't have to answer any more this question, there was a very good statement from the club, (with) very, very clear words that came out from me. I don't want to talk any more about politics for one reason because I'm not in the House of Parliament, I'm not a political person, I will talk about only football.''
Sunderland currently sit 16th in the Premier League table and are just one point clear of safety. Di Canio, though, feels that, come the end of the season, the club will be able to look forward to another year of top-flight football.
"I know there will be in the future very high attention, especially for the club as we are not in a good moment," he said. "For sure we are going to do a good job and we are going to celebrate at the end of the season."
Di Canio's appointment has split opinion among Black Cats supporters, but the former Swindon boss is confident he will be able to win them over.
"At Swindon, there were many people that couldn't believe Di Canio was the right man for the club," he said. "After two months, at the end of the game 9,000 people were there, clapping the players and singing my name.
"I don't expect the Sunderland fans to sing my name because it's more important they sing the names of the players.''
Information from the Press Association was used in this report