Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has branded some of his players' behaviour as “pathetic.”

The Black Cats had secured Premier League safety prior to their final game of the season, a 1-0 loss against Tottenham.

But during the week Di Canio insisted that he expected his players to perform "with dignity" or risk having their holidays cut short.

The Italian recently fined several players for breaches of discipline and has made it clear he plans to rule with an iron fist since he took over at the Stadium of Light.

But Phil Bardsley and Matthew Kilgallon were photographed in a casino during midweek - and it became clear Di Canio had been undermined.

Both players that were involved in the incident were dropped from the squad immediately. Di Canio, meanwhile, visibly struggled to contain his anger when questioned following the defeat at White Hart Lane.

"They can't stay with me the people that behave like that," the Italian told BBC Sport. "On this occasion it was easy for me to push them out. It was disgusting.

"I know someone can make a mistake - I did in the past, maybe not in that way. But every time we win, or we are happy, are we going to behave like this? It is ridiculous and pathetic."

Indeed the fiery Italian has been far from lily white in the past but claimed it is vital Sunderland sign players that are dedicated and willing to buy into his ideals, regardless of the strictness of his regime.

"Obviously if we want to have a different future in terms of results we need to bring in not only good players but with a professional ethic," Di Canio added. "Be a real a professional, not a footballer that performs 40 or 50% of the potential they have because they got blurry or because they go out."

Di Canio has had several run-ins with players since his managerial career began, most notably a physical confrontation with striker Leon Clarke during his stint at Swindon Town.


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