Last Updated: Mon, 01 Apr 2013 11:39
Sunderland owner Ellis Short has defended the controversial appointment of Paolo Di Canio and says the Italian can keep them up.
Short sacked Martin O'Neill following Saturday's defeat at home to Manchester United - a result that leaves the Black Cats in 16th place in the Premier League, just a point clear of the relegation zone.
He moved swiftly to appoint former Swindon boss Di Canio but the move has been criticised by some fans and vice-chairman David Miliband has resigned, saying "in the light of the new manager's past political statements, I think it right to step down".
However, Short has defended the former West Ham forward and believes he can secure Sunderland's top-flight status in the games that remain.
Short said: "Paolo is hugely enthused by the challenge that lies ahead of him. He is passionate, driven and raring to get started.
"The sole focus of everyone for the next seven games will be to ensure we gain enough points to maintain our top-flight status. I think that the chances of that are greatly increased with Paolo joining us."
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