Paolo On Defeat

Paolo Di Canio says he would happily have swapped personal glory for three points against Leeds United on Sunday.

Paolo, back from a groin injury, was inspirational in commandeering the second half fightback from 4-1 down - and rightly earned the plaudits for his influence.

But the efforts of himself and his colleagues wasn't quite enough to snatch a point from the game, and he insists that personal praise means nothing to him.

"I always say I would prefer to play badly and win than play well and lose," he stresses.

"I would rather not score and win 1-0 from an own goal, than score twice like yesterday and not get a point.

"I would prefer, at the end of the season, to have two goals in my account and we have a good season than maybe 20 goals and go down."

His influence was off as well as on the pitch, with Paolo exhorting his colleagues at half time to show professional pride.

"I said we mustn't lose face and that we had to show we were much better," he says. "I felt in the second half we could only improve and that we must try to show some character - and pride.

"Even though we lost we had to show that, and I think the people appreciated it.

"But I hope we don't have to be in the same situation next time, playing to get back in the game."

And that, of course, has been the crux of the matter at home this season - going behind has more often that not been the galvanising force.

And, arguably, being 4-1 down led to the best 45 minutes of the season in the second half.

"Of course it was a disappointing day for everybody, especially because we always wait to react," says Paolo.

"If we can take something positive from the game it is the reaction in the second half, but I would prefer sometimes that we don't have to react - because then it would mean we are winning.

"Now we have to focus our attention on Manchester United and we have to work hard on the training ground to get a different result.

"Every game now is big but I think now it is better to play Manchester United than perhaps someone like Birmingham City.

"We are face to face and we must not repeat the same mistakes if we want to beat them - or we will be punished."

Meanwhile, as far as his contractual situation is concerned, Paolo says: "It is not the right time to speak about that. I only want to think about playing football."