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No chance of Sess exacting revenge on Sunderland, declares Di Canio
A BULLISH Paolo Di Canio has admitted he does not know how he would react if Stephane Sessegnon scored the winner for his new club West Bromwich Albion tomorrow – because he believes it will not happen.
Di Canio sanctioned the sale of the Beninese playmaker to the Baggies a fortnight ago after coming to the conclusion that his time on Wearside was up and, with a delay in processing his work permit, the 29-year-old is free to make his debut against his old club at The Hawthorns.
Sessegnon had a handy knack of scoring against West Brom while in a red and white shirt, but Di Canio has not considered the trick being reversed come Saturday evening.
“Why should he score the winner,” asked Di Canio. “I can't say how I'd feel about something that's not going to happen.
“It won't happen.”
Di Canio had spent much of the early summer persuading his club to retain Sessegnon, despite the attacker being told he could be moved on, but after two Premier League games it became clear that the levels of application demanded of him were no longer there.
Three days after a poor performance away to Southampton, Sessegnon was dropped for the Capital One Cup game and was arrested on suspicion of driving with excess alcohol in Newcastle city centre. At this point, Di Canio's mind was made up.
“We didn't push him out,” explained the manager. “Ten days before, I said I'd keep him, but to be completely honest, I had a player that, after I'd said that, he trained in a different way. This can happen. Maybe because he's in a bad moment, or that his performances weren't good, he had a very good pre-season.
“In the first two games he played badly, and his body language was not that of a player who wanted to give his best.
“Then, in the crucial match in the cup, we hadn't won a game, everybody was at the stadium, but 15 minutes in, at the same time as we conceded a goal, my player is out somewhere and was found.
“That means he didn't care. He didn't care about the club. His time was gone. It was better for everyone for him to go.”
Sunderland brought in Ki Sung Yeung on loan from Swansea before adding Andrea Dossena and Fabio Borini on transfer deadline day, and Di Canio was pleased to be able to replace one player, who cost the club £5m when he signed from PSG in 2011, with two.
“For us, it gave us the opportunity to bring in two players, it was easier to bring in two players,” said Di Canio. “He's not a bad guy. He tried to give his best, but his time was finished at Sunderland because he was not capable to give his best.”
Meanwhile, Baggies boss Steve Clarke believes tomorrow is the ideal opportunity for Sessegnon to make his West Brom debut.
“I'm not sure what the delay was, to be honest,” said Clarke, who was not aware of Di Canio's criticisms of Sessegnon. “We thought we'd get it last Friday afternoon but it didn't come through and then it dragged over the weekend but I'm not sure what the delay was - some kind of legal jargon or whatever. It's not my department.
“I haven't read Paolo's comments because I tend not to read the media. I'm not really sure what the context was.
“Sometimes when a player leaves a club the manager will choose to make some critical comments but that's for every individual to decide how they want to do it.
“I won't have to motivate Stephane. He's just joined a new club and he's got a new challenge.
“You can see every day in training that he's excited about the prospect of playing here and he's looking forward to the game at the weekend.
“I don't think it would matter who we were playing, he'd still be looking forward to it.
“But you'd think it would be a perfect game, yes.”
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