Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio does not expect relegation battle

Paolo Di Canio: Sunderland boss optimistic for new season

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Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has promised the club's supporters that his team will not be involved in a relegation battle this season.

The Italian also believes the Black Cats will play better and more stylish football after making a host of changes to his squad this summer.

Sunderland only avoided the drop from the Premier League by three points last season after Di Canio replaced Martin O'Neill as boss at the end of March.

"For sure, our plan is to play better football and stay up more comfortably than last year," said Di Canio ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy clash with Spurs in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

"During the season, the plan that you make at the beginning of the season can change, but I am sure that we will finish in a more comfortable position this year because the players are good players and are concentrating.

"I also need to change the mentality a bit that I found last year. But I can tell you that something has changed a lot and I really think that we will have a very good season.

"You saw how we tried to play much more from the back last year. We want to have a clear identity on the field. We will have a clear identity and we play much more football than we played last year."