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Di Canio plays down hotel incident
SUNDERLAND football manager Paolo Di Canio has downplayed an early-morning altercation with drunken Southampton fans at the team hotel.
Talk in the build-up to the Barclays Premier League clash at St Marys revolved around reports of a mass brawl at the Black Cats hotel.
Hampshire Police confirmed they had attended the Solent Hotel and Spa in Whiteley, near Fareham, just after midnight in response to a report of assault.
Di Canio revealed the altercation occurred between his staff and three drunk Saints fans after a wedding party, which came just hours before his side’s 1-1 draw on the south coast.
The Italian said: “Once we walked inside the lift they arrived in front of the lift and started recording with their mobile phone.
“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.
“They didn’t try to punch us in a clear way but they moved their hands and we stopped them, blocked them.
“I asked for the police because it wasn’t fair that people inside the hotel attack, verbally and physically, members of my staff.”
Mr Di Canio said it was a "stupid moment" from "silly guys" under the effect of lots of alcohol.
He added: “At the end, there was a fun a moment. They said we are going to win, Rickie Lambert is going to score and Fabrizio (Piccareta, Sunderland assistant manager) said no, tomorrow were going to win. It finished like this.
“No footballers, no fight. This is the real situation and the way it happened.”
A police spokeswoman said officers had spoken to three men, aged 20, 45 and 47, in relation to the incident.
She said: “A 20-year-old man from Southampton suffered a cut to his lip during the incident.
“All parties were spoken to, and the matter was resolved by way of community resolution. No-one was arrested.”
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