English Premiership

Di Canio lifts lid on row

2013-08-25 13:36
Paolo Di Canio (File)

London - Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has played down an early-morning altercation with drunken Southampton fans prior to the sides' 1-1 draw in the Premier League on Saturday.

Police were called to the Sunderland team hotel near Fareham on the English south coast after reports of an assault, and Di Canio confirmed that he and his staff were confronted by some rowdy Saints fans.

"They were only three young, drunk guys there after a wedding party that was inside the hotel," the Italian said.

"Once we walked inside the lift, they arrived in front of the lift and started recording with their mobile phone. I was screaming from behind the staff and we tried to push the third-floor button and they tried to stop and kept going.

"At that moment, they weren't really aggressive but we said 'Stop, we must go now, let us go.' We tried to say stop and push them away and they started to open the door, so we said 'Now we call the police.'

"I asked for the police because it wasn't fair that people inside the hotel attack, verbally and physically, members of my staff. It wasn't fair."

He added: "It was a stupid moment from silly guys under effect of lots of alcohol.

"No footballers, no fight. This is the real situation and the way it happened."

Emanuele Giaccherini's third-minute header set Sunderland on course for their first victory of the season at St Mary's, only for Jose Fonte to equalise for Southampton in the 88th minute.

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