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Slow Start for Di Canio and Sunderland's 'Revolution'

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You say you want a revolution?

We have had just four games of Paolo Di Canio's continental-looking Sunderland side, and already questions are being asked.

Fans were delighted as signing after signing came in throughout the summer, from the experienced freebies to the late loans, and the cheap promising youngsters to the big-money internationals.

Di Canio was highly critical of his own players following the 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, and in turn has been criticised by media and fans for this critique.

Having a go at the players in private is one thing, but to do it so publicly, and so early in the season, is a risky strategy from the Italian, albeit fitting with what we've come to expect from him.

That said, he isn't the only one being critical; indeed, the way some fans tell it, you'd think Sunderland had already been consigned to the Championship.

The new faces at the Stadium of Light this summer has reached double-figures, with very little Premier League experience. This fresh approach has been hailed by supporters, but with it there has to be patience; you can't have your cake and eat it - at least not straightaway, it needs to allowed to cool, and then iced and so on.

Baking analogies aside - blame the return of The Great British Bake Off - it's obvious that the team is going to take a while to gel. In addition to the new faces, there have been injuries, and with the transfer window open for the first games, you also have the factor of players still to arrive, and those still to go.

The player coming in for the biggest criticism, from the fans, manager and press, has been Ji Dong-won. The South Korean but in a poor display against MK Dons, being subbed just after half-time, and against Palace he was actually replaced at the break. He came out by himself, before the rest of the players, and sat alone looking on the verge of tears; against the Dons, he was ironically cheered when he left the pitch.

Much of the ire, at least stemming from the Palace game, was to do with his pulling away from a header rather than attacking the ball. It was an extremely poor piece of play, but now he is being made something of a scapegoat, and an easy target for the 'boo boys'.

That, and Di Canio's public criticism, will do nothing for the confidence of a player who showed in the Bundesliga last term he does have some ability, even if at times he resembles the football equivalent of a springer spaniel: full of energy and enthusiasm, eager to place, but, ultimately, you need a border collie to round up the sheep (or, um, score the goals).

Sunderland's upcoming fixtures, particularly at home, don't inspire much confidence: the next seven league games on Wearside see the top six clubs, plus Newcastle, visiting the Stadium of Light.

However, there is still no need to panic. Most fans were predicting a solid mid-table place at the start of the season, and three games have not exactly derailed that plan. If they have, then Manchester United can probably kiss their title aspirations goodbye, Spurs have wasted all the Gareth Bale money and Stoke could be an outside bet for the Champions League.

When you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out
Don't you know it's gonna be alright