PAOLO Di Canio has made it clear he DID NOT apologise to John O’Shea in the wake of criticising his captain for conceding a penalty and getting sent off at Crystal Palace.
The head coach publicly slated O’Shea a fortnight ago after the defender’s mistake at Selhurst Park sent Sunderland spiralling to a 3-1 defeat.
Those outspoken comments drew criticisms of their own, with many suggesting it was ill-advised for Di Canio to dress down his skipper in public.
And it was reported earlier this week that the Italian had rang O’Shea the day after the game to apologise for his comments.
But Di Canio has insisted there was no apology and he stands by his original statements – even though he is quick to point out that he also stands fully behind his skipper.
“It is not true that I rang John O’Shea the next day to apologise,” he told the Echo.
“That’s not because I feel that it is wrong to apologise if you do something wrong – if you do something wrong, you should apologise.
“But there was nothing for me to apologise for.
“The way that phone call was interpreted by the media shows that people do not understand my relationship with my players.”
Di Canio then went on to explain exactly what he did say to the former Manchester United man.
“When there is a problem in a game, I have my say. I am very, very clear. And then 10 minutes later, it is finished. We move on,” he said.
“The day after the game, I did ring John O’Shea, but not to apologise. I rang to encourage him.
“The conversation was meant to be private but it has come out, so I can tell people about it – it was a very natural conversation.
“I said to him: ‘How do you feel John?’ He said: ‘I have had better days’.
“And I said to him: ‘Don’t be down’. And I said in a fun way: ‘Forget the rubbish mistake you made yesterday!
“‘Now you must think about the next two games,’ I said to him. ‘The internationals – because your country is very important to you and you have to put the league game behind you and focus on these international games’.
“I said that he must be positive on international duty and then come back to the club more positive than ever.
“This is my relationship with my players.
“John O’Shea is my captain, he is my leader and I can talk about his mistakes – it does not mean that I don’t rate him as one of the top, top players at the club and he knows that.”