Steve: No Problem

Steve Lomas has played down any suggestions of a problem regarding Paolo Di Canio being substituted against Fulham on Monday.

Although Paolo wanted to stay on and help the cause at a critical stage in the game at Craven Cottage, and has since admitted as much, Steve says he understands the Italian's desire to carry on, and explains: "It is not a nice thing to be substituted and Paolo showed his passion. He didn't want to get taken off, and he felt he should have stayed on.

"He was just showing his frustration and maybe he shouldn't have done it in that way - but in the heat of the moment when you think you shouldn't be taken off it is pretty hard not to respond.

"You don't tend to say 'thanks a lot, you're right for taking me off'. From a player's point of view it is the hardest thing in the world being subbed, and that is no disrespect to John coming on, because he did very well and it was just what we needed to shore it up.

"It is hard to say 'yeah, all right gaffer, you take me off' when you are winning 1-0 and he had probably sacrificed his game a little bit for the team - which everybody has to do from time to time.

"When you are 1-0 up and you are doing your bit for the side you just want to stay on, and it hard to accept.

"He certainly didn't want the lads to lose just because he had been taken off, obviously, it is just that it is a hard thing to accept at the time you are taken off - it is just one of these things.

Steve praises Paolo's contribution over the Easter programme, which yielded maximum points, and he adds: "Over the two games he did very well. Against Ipswich he scored one and made two and I don't think there will be any problems there."

And Steve insists that he is not annoyed at Paolo still having the captain's arm band even though he, as club captain, is fit again and playing regularly.

He reveals: "It is no problem to me; people have been saying stuff, but after what I have been through in the last year I am just glad to be back playing football - and anything else is a bonus."