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Is Poyet too similar to Di Canio for Sunderland?

Sunderland finally ended the Paolo Di Canio experiment, but is replacing him with Gus Poyet going to change the Black Cats' fortunes?

The term “out of the frying pan, into the fire” is one regularly used in every day life. The idiom means to move from one predicament, directly into another bad situation and nothing appears to describe Sunderland's impending appointment of Gus Poyet better.

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The Paolo Di Canio era predictably ended in an explosive manner, with a player revolt taking place shortly after their 3-0 defeat against West Bromwich Albion. John O'Shea recently confirmed that the Sunderland squad decided they had to get Di Canio removed, as his public criticism of players had damaged the confidence around the team.

Since Kevin Ball has taken charge on a temporary basis, the Black Cats have shown what they are capable of, even if they did lose to both Liverpool and Manchester United. Throughout his interim stint as boss, Ball has doubted his chances of landing the job on a full-time basis and now it seems that Poyet is on the verge of taking charge.

Whilst Poyet has displayed that he is a more talented manager than Di Canio, taking his Brighton team to the League One title and the Championship playoff semi-finals, he shares many of the traits that led to Di Canio's downfall – a volatile, outspoken nature and inexperience of managing at the highest level.

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Former Valencia idol Vicente joined Poyet at Brighton, but upon his departure had some strong words to say about the former Chelsea and Tottenham midfielder – words that make you question whether he is that different to Di Canio at all.

'For me he is a selfish person, very egocentric,' he said as reported by the Daily Mail earlier in the year.

'I say that because it’s how I feel. I won’t talk badly about my team-mates, because they have been fantastic with me. What I think is unacceptable is that the manager makes fun of his players. I’ve seen things here that I have never seen in my career. If you miss with a shot in training, he makes fun. For me, that is unacceptable in football.'

In lower league football, managers who earned their reputations as high profile players – such as Di Canio and Poyet – can stamp their authority on their players and use their influence to make players run through the proverbial 'brick wall' in order to gain success.

At a higher level though, players expect to be pampered and treated with respect, which is something that lower league managers making the step up sometimes can't adjust to. There is also a higher emphasis placed on tactical nous in the Premier League, though Poyet's brand of attractive, attacking football at Brighton showed that he's more advanced than Di Canio in the tactical department.

Poyet's success in the Championship means he's more likely to make the transition to Premier League football than Di Canio was, whose appointment seemed destined to fail from the beginning. But having tried to remove a brash manager in the first place, is replacing him with another one really the best idea from Ellis Short?

image: © Ben Sutherland

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