Wednesday 24 July 2013
Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio had nothing but praise for Wes Brown as the defender helped the Black Cats beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 to reach the final of the Barclays Asia Trophy.
"Wes Brown deserved his man-of-the-match award"
Paolo Di Canio
In a match that was delayed and shortened by 10 minutes of heavy rain, Brown scored the second goal for Sunderland, who came from behind to win. Gylfi Sigurdsson put Spurs in front with a deflected shot from Kyle Walker's cross but Sunderland went into half-time level through a goal from Cabral, one of Di Canio's new signings. After the break, Brown put Sunderland in front and David Moberg Karlsson sealed the match with a cool finish.
"Every time you win is good," said Di Canio. "We won after being 1-0 down so it is a good effort."
For Di Canio the return of the 33-year-old Brown to his squad, having missed last season through injury, was pleasing as the Italian had doubted whether the former Manchester United defender would play for the club again.
"When a player is injured and does not play the season it is not good," added Di Canio. "When I asked about whether he can play I said, 'If he is not fit it is no good'. He is not young and in a team where there is much change.
"So we spoke and he told me, 'I am a footballer and I want to prove it.' I tested him by not speaking to him for a few days and he was the perfect professional. He did not stop one minute in training and my pre-seasons are tough. After a few days I told him that he was a full part of my squad, in my heart and in my brain. He deserved his man-of-the-match award."
"We will learn from our mistakes and try not to make them again"
For Sebastian Larsson, the Sunderland midfielder, the goal from his Swedish compatriot Moberg Karlsson was reward for a positive start to his career on Wearside. "I was delighted for him," Larsson said. "He is a young, enthusiastic lad and he has done well since he came in."
Spurs head coach Andre Villas-Boas lamented individual errors that allowed Sunderland to win after Spurs had led.
"We committed a couple of mistakes that made us concede the [first two] goals, the set-play and the goal in the first half," he said. "For the third goal we were left a bit exposed as we tried to chase an equaliser.
"The positives are we gave some players a full run-out and there were some good moments as we put pressure on Sunderland in the second half. We will learn from our mistakes and try not to make them again."
For Villas-Boas, who said the club would await a scan on the left ankle of defender Jan Vertonghen, who went off six minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute, the match also provided a good opportunity to try a different style of play he has wanted his team to adopt.
"We have been experimenting with a 4-4-2, instead of a 4-3-3, and we are happy with the tests that we are making," he said. "Obviously we want to get some results in which are important for confidence but in the end it was a good physical workout."