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Thursday 11 July 2013

New players will bond at Barclays Asia Trophy, says Di Canio

Sunderland manager looking forward to getting to know his players more during Barclays Asia Trophy

  • Di Canio is preparing for his first full season in charge of Sunderland

  • Sunderland's new manager chats with Stephane Sessegnon

  • Cabral took part in a practice match in Italy on Wednesday

  • Valentin Roberge scored as Sunderland won 13-1 in their practice match

Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio says this month's Barclays Asia Trophy will be an ideal way to help bond his players ahead of the new Barclays Premier League season.

The Black Cats have been busy in the transfer market this summer, bringing in two Frenchmen, Valentin Roberge and Modibo Diakite, Cape Verde Islands-born midfielder Cabral, who has represented Switzerland at junior levels, Swedish winger David Moberg Karlsson and Italian goalkeeper Vito Mannone.

And to help his new signings settle in and get to know their team-mates, Di Canio has mixed up the players on their current pre-season training camp in Italy as well as for when they travel to Hong Kong for the Barclays Asia Trophy 2013, which begins on 24 July.

"For them this should be a big occasion to play at the top level"
Paolo Di Canio on his new signings

"The knitting together of the players is crucial," Di Canio told the club's website. "We decided from the first day that in training I put one British with one player that comes from abroad.

"A French guy will spend more time with other French guys because it is more natural, it's more convenient, because it is tough to go to an English player to ask something because not many of them know the English language.

"So it depends on us to create the situation and let them understand quickly and let them link together quickly. Also in terms of rooms when we go to Italy and Hong Kong, we are going to make the balance … if we put all the British together, players from abroad together, they are never going to bond together and quickly, so this way can help the process of integration."

Sunderland's five signings have travelled to Italy for the club's pre-season camp as Di Canio gets his squad into shape for the start of the new campaign and the Italian believes the new additions are hungry to prove themselves in what he describes as the 'best league in the world'.

"The players that come from abroad now already have good experience, they have played really good football abroad but English football is the best football in the world, more physical and more exciting in every game," he added. "Here, nothing is easy. For them it should be a good challenge. Everywhere you go and play there is a hard atmosphere and beautiful stadiums, it's a typical situation for real football. This can happen only in England, this is the truth.

"For them this should be a big occasion to play at the top level, in the best league in the world, but also the toughest league in the world. They have all the ingredients to try to give their best."

"My team and the players I select will always have to wear this shirt with honour, dignity and respect"
Paolo Di Canio

Di Canio arrived at the Stadium of Light at the end of March and led Sunderland to Premier League survival with the help of two wins and two draws from their final seven matches.

And the 45-year-old Italian, who made 190 Barclays Premier League appearances as a forward with Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham United and Charlton Athletic, is confident his players will be ready for the new season which begins on 17 August with a home match against Fulham.

"We are going to build a very, very good team, with a very good work ethic, that will be crucial on the field - we are going to face the opponents; we are going to challenge the opponents," Di Canio said. "My team and the players I select will always have to wear this shirt with honour, dignity and respect otherwise they can't play under me.

"The fans have to be proud when we finish the game even if we lose, because, unfortunately, we are going to lose a few games."

Di Canio's side will take on Tottenham Hotspur in the semi-finals of the Barclays Asia Trophy at the Hong Kong Stadium on 24 July before taking on Manchester City or South China on finals day three days later.

Sunderland played a practice match against a local select XI during their Italian training camp on Wednesday evening. The match, which featured six of Sunderland's new signings, ended in a 13-1 victory for Di Canio's men. Stephane Sessegnon scored five goals with the others coming from new signings Jozy Altidore, David Moberg Karlsson and Valentin Roberge as well as from Danny Graham, Mikael Mandron, Seb Larsson and Ji Dong-won.

Barclays Asia Trophy 2013 ticket prices

24 July 27 July
Category C   $300 (£25) SOLD OUT
Category D   $250 (£21) SOLD OUT
Students & Senior Citizens

Tickets for the Barclays Asia Trophy 2013 are available to purchase in Hong Kong via Cityline, the official ticketing agency of the Barclays Asia Trophy, through the following sources:

  • Online with Cityline - click here
  • Cityline telephone booking hotline – 00 852 2111 5333 (10am-8pm daily)
  • Cityline and Tom Lee Music Outlets in Hong Kong

Tickets sold are per match day and each daily ticket gains the purchaser entrance to both matches on that day. Over two thirds of match tickets have gone on sale to the public, with fans snapping up the affordable tickets in exceptional numbers.

Barclays Asia Trophy 2013 fixtures

Wednesday 24 July 2013
Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland, kick-off 6pm (11am BST)
Manchester City v South China, kick-off 8.30pm (1.30pm BST)

Saturday 27 July 2013
Third-place play-off, kick-off 6pm (11am BST)
Final, kick-off 8.30pm (1.30pm BST)

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