Former Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has defended his time in charge of the Black Cats and is adamant he should have been given more time.

The Italian was reportedly sacked after his players had grown increasingly fed up with his public criticism of the team.

Sunderland only managed a single point from their first five games, the final straw for Di Canio was a 3-0 loss at the hands of West Brom.

Kevin Ball was installed as Sunderland's caretaker manager for their 2-0 win over Peterborough in the Capital One Cup third round, but could not rectify his sides Premier League form - as they lost 3-1 to Liverpool last weekend.

Di Canio expressed that he remains confident in his ability to manage in England's top flight, and players have thanked him for his influence on the side.

The Italian's statement on Sky Sports read: "When you bring in 14 new players, many from overseas and very few with Premiership experience it is going to take time for them to adapt to the English game and to gel as a team.

"As I have said many times, I love English football and I feel that my time at the club has been unfairly cut short as given the chance, I am certain that had I been allowed longer, I would have been able to develop the team to achieve the success Sunderland fans desire.

"There has been a lot written in the media in recent days, much of it wholly untrue. There was no training ground bust up as some are reporting and many of the players have since sent me messages thanking me for my time as their manager and helping them to improve as footballers."

Di Canio replaced Martin O'Neill in the hot seat at the Stadium Of Light in a bid to save the club from relegation.

The eccentric Italian admits he is disappointed he was not given the opportunity to turn things around but is determined to learn from his mistakes.

He added: "We could see that results had not gone as well as any of us had hoped, but I felt as a team we could turn things around, said the former Swindon boss. I remain confident in my ability and I want to manage again in England as soon as I can.

"When things like this happen it is important to take something positive from it. I have learnt a lot from my brief time at Sunderland and I am sure that this will only make me a better manager in my next job.

"Even though my time at the club ended prematurely, I would like to thank Sunderland for giving me my first opportunity to be a Premier League manager."

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