Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio denied he was a racist or fascist after his controversial appointment received fresh criticism.
Yesterday's press conference at Sunderland's Academy of Light training base was illuminating in every way but one.
Paolo Di Canio refused to answer questions on whether he is a fascist but said the controversy surrounding his appointment was "ridiculous."
Sunderland fans have had a mixed reaction to Paolo Di Canio's appointment as head coach. Some, like Rob Johnson, said they would boycott the club while he remains in post:
– Rob Johnson
Words can hardly express how sickened and ashamed I am by the appointment of Paolo Di Canio as our new manager.
Lest we forget, during WW2 267 people were killed and over 1000 wounded in Sunderland by Nazi bombers.
– Richard Parker
For the first time in nearly 40 years, I find myself questioning whether I can continue to support our great club in the way I have done over the years.
I am sickened by our appointment of Paolo Di Canio.
Others felt Di Canio should be believed when he said his words had been twisted, and urged fellow fans to judge him by his results on the pitch:
– Terry Reilly
Let Paolo Di Canio do his job of turning round a sinking ship and judge him on his ability to motivate the team and avoid relegation.
PDC: 'Players need to fight for the shirt - go out on that pitch ready to sweat and shed blood for the club!'
PDC: 'As much as I like talking to the press, I'd much rather be out on the training pitch with my players.' http://t.co/CYETZJ1sdP
Paolo Di Canio appeared riled when he left the press conference, asking reporters: "What do I have to apologise for?"
He says he has never made any statements about his political beliefs, and that it was just the media twisting his words.
Asked whether he still considers himself a fascist, Paolo Di Canio says: "I don't have to answer any more this question, there was a very good statement from the club".
"I don't want to talk any more about politics ... I'm not in the House of Parliament," he adds.
A press officer is cutting off any further questions on the subject.
PDC: 'Press like to call me the mad Italian, but I would confidently bet everything I have on Sunderland remaining in the top flight!'
PDC: 'The players worked very hard in my first training session. My arrival is good motivation for them.'
Reporters at the Paolo Di Canio press conference were given strict instructions that we would only answer questions about football.
Di Canio says he initially thought the phonecall in which he was offered the job was a "joke".
Now he says he has passion and focus, and doesn't care about the headlines in the press. He said he would bet "everything he has" on the club staying up.
Paolo Di Canio is telling reporters: "With my energy I am sure we can get something from the next seven games.
"I hope my ways give the team more confidence on the pitch."
Sunderland's new head coach Paolo Di Canio is giving his first press conference since taking over at the club.
Asked for his initial reaction to being offered the job, he said: "I felt fire in my belly. I would have swam to Sunderland to take the job.'