PAOLO DI CANIO believes there is far more to come from his new-look Sunderland side, despite being encouraged by the early pre-season signs.
Sunderland impressed against Spurs in Wednesday’s first public friendly encounter of the summer, with Di Canio’s fitness work on the training ground clearly paying dividends for the Black Cats.
But the Sunderland head coach says his players are still heavy-legged due to the cardio work they have been doing since returning to work earlier this month and expects his flair players to be even sharper once the Premier League gets underway.
Di Canio said: “We showed the other day that we are resistant which is the first signal that we are working well.
“It is obvious in the future that we’ll be sharper and more resistant.
“People like Adam (Johnson) and Stephane (Sessegnon), they have done a good job
“They are not really sharp yet, because it is obvious they feel heavy in the legs.
“But the game against Tottenham was the first signal that we have done well in the last 25 days.
“We have to keep going because we want to be in the right place to keep going for long periods in the season.”
Di Canio insists it has been straightforward to integrate his eight new signings into his training regime after opting to conduct a wholesale renovation of Sunderland’s squad.
And Di Canio believes Sunderland’s time together in Italy and here in Hong Kong have proved crucial for the players to buy into his mentality.
“I have to tell you that I’ve been very happy because it’s been easy (integrating the new signings)” said Di Canio.
“I’ve found a group of intelligent people.
“Once we go back to Sunderland, they are going to have their own life.
“But this is a good opportunity to put down the wall between a different mentality. If you don’t understand straightaway the mentality of your team-mates, then it is difficult.
“But from what I can see at the moment, the group are enjoying it together and suffering together!
“We have a group here who want to improve and become well-known players.
“This is part of the process of bonding together.”