Di Canio Wants 'Winning Mentality' In Hong Kong
Paolo Di Canio will use Sunderland's Barclays Asia Trophy trip to Hong Kong to instil a winning mentality in his team.
The 44-year-old Italian and his players, who are due to return to training on Wednesday, will jet out to Asia late next month to take part in the tournament along with Manchester City, Tottenham and South China FC.
However, Di Canio insists the Black Cats will not simply be going along for the trip, but determined to win the competition as they prepare for the new Barclays Premier League season.
Speaking in a video interview with premierleague.com, he said: "I want to win every game. Even when we have a friendly game, I have a winning mentality.
"Even when I play cards with my daughter, I want to win every time. I want to upset her because I want to win. My mentality is to win every game.
"There are obvious priorities: the Premier League is more important than friendly games, but only if we deliver this mentality can we take every competition seriously.
"So the Barclays Asia tournament is very important because we are going to face the top sides and it's the dream of every player - this is the mission: to play every game against a top side.
"The fact that we have the chance to do this in Hong Kong means only the country changes, not the desire, the commitment that we have to deliver on the field, so it's a good opportunity.
"We want to win the tournament and we will do everything we can."
Di Canio's reign at the Stadium of Light is still in its infancy after he was handed the task of retaining the club's top-flight status with just seven games of last season remaining.
He accomplished his initial task with the help of a morale-boosting derby victory at Newcastle and is now engaged in the process of rebuilding his team, and he knows there is hard work to be done during pre-season.
Di Canio said: "My primary objective is to be the team that will fight every single game together, so for this we have to spend as much as we can the time together to bond and to become a very united team.
"I want to deliver my message in the way we want to play - the tactical strategy - to deliver a clear identity in the way we want to play, and this period can help me a lot because we have the chance to stay all day together.
"We can do double sessions, then some friendly games and when something goes wrong, I can have a chat with them straight away rather than when you are during the season after the training session they run away.
"This is a very important period for every coach because the first input, the first period, the first months are crucial and those two months can decide the outcome and the destiny of the season."
Di Canio is currently attempting to overhaul the squad he inherited from predecessor Martin O'Neill with Valentin Roberge, Cabral and Modibo Diakite due to become Sunderland players when their existing contracts run out at midnight on Sunday, while the club are also understood to be pursuing an interest in Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone.
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