VITO MANNONE has shrugged off the demands of Paolo Di Canio’s pre-season regime by declaring it standard practice in their native Italy.
Sunderland head coach Di Canio has worked his players hard since they returned to training earlier this week, with double sessions implemented to knock the Black Cats players into shape.
The rigours of pre-season will continue tomorrow when Sunderland head off to a 10-day training camp in Northern Italy before travelling to Hong Kong where Di Canio’s focus will again be on fitness.
But new signing Mannone, who completed a £2million move from Arsenal on Wednesday, says Di Canio is simply replicating the methods which are common throughout Italy.
“Pre-season has been tough, like it is at any club,” said the 25-year-old keeper.
“I think sometimes people exaggerate and say that Paolo Di Canio works the players too hard when that is not the case.
“I know the Italian way and it is about preparation and attention to every detail and from what I have seen in the first few days here, that is what the head coach is concentrating on.
“I think that is the best way to prepare your body and to prepare the group to go into a big season.
“I’ve been really impressed because he has kind of mixed the Italian managerial skills with those here in England.
“He loves to do the training and have contact with the players.
“He has played in Italy, Scotland and England, so he has seen how things work in different countries and has taken things from each to make his own mix.”
Sunderland’s trip to Italy, followed by their participation in the Barclay’s Asia Trophy, in Hong Kong, later this month should give the club’s fresh faces chance to settle in their new surroundings.
Mannone became Sunderland’s sixth signing of the summer after joining fellow new boys Valentin Roberge, Modibo Diakite, Cabral, David Moberg Karlsson and Duncan Watmore at the Stadium of Light.
And they are unlikely to be the last, with Sunderland hopeful of concluding deals for Argentine right-back Gino Peruzzi, Greek winger Charas Mavrias and Le Havre duo Benjamin Mendy and El-Hadji Ba.
But Mannone believes the two trips abroad provide the ideal back-drop for the new signings to integrate with their team-mates.
Mannone added: “There are a lot of new players here and they will need time to gel, but pre-season is the time for that.
“We’ve made a lot of progress in a short time already and I think we will make very good progress over the 20 days while we are in Italy and then Hong Kong.”