Paolo's Pledge

Paolo Di Canio says that the squad will stick together through difficult times - while MD Paul Aldridge is playing down the incident with Tomas Repka at the end of the match against West Brom.

Paolo returned to action in Wednesday's defeat, reclaiming the captain's armband and starting his first game of the season - but he admits that his pleasure at returning to action was clouded by the defeat.

"It was my first game and we needed three points from it," he says. "We dominated in the first half but unfortunately we conceded an incredible goal which was our mistake - I think everybody would agree with that.

"We reacted but it was difficult against 10 players all defending - we still created chances but it wasn't easy.

"If I can find just one positive thing, althought it is difficult, I don't think, if people saw me, that I looked as if I had been out for five months.

"I ran like the other players - but of course this is only a small satisfaction against the whole bad feeling of losing.

"I prefer to play badly and win than play well and lose - this is my character, and everyone knows this.

"I played from the start and created chances - but that doesn't mean I am happy, even though I played my football.

"The rest of the lads aren't happy either, but now is the moment to be a unit.

"We have to get a result against Tottenham, then it is Manchester City at home and Chelsea away.

"Now we have to think game by game; it is very early in the season - but the quicker we get out of this situation the better for everybody.

"We don't have to think about the negatives; it is the time to fight, like West Brom did.

"I don't think they played incredible football - they created one chance, scored, and put 10 men behind the ball.

"They wanted to win the game; they were determined, and it is not a fantastic moment for us.

"But to be honest I have come back and the team can count on Paolo Di Canio - this is a positive thing, but as for the rest, it is disappointment.

"Now I have to play two or three games to be 100% - I think I am fitter than before because I have been only training for the last three months, but I need to transfer that to matches.

"I am sure we have the morale and quality to get out of this situation.

"The supporters are a little bit worried now but they have to stay with us - we will get out of it, I am sure. We have good quality mentally, physically, and technically to not stay long in this situation.

"If we work together we will stay together."

Meanwhile, talking of the incident when Tomas, frustrated at the defeat, had words with one or two supporters near the tunnel before Paul Aldridge pulled him away, the Managing Director says: "It has been blown out of proportion - supporters were venting their feelings, and of course passions were running high from players and fans alike.

"But I felt it was not the time for Tomas to be discussing things so I ushered him down the tunnel.

"The referee, Andy D'Urso, says he is not making a mention of the incident in his report, and it was all over in a flash.

"That is the end of the matter, and what we are concentrating on is turning things around.

"Obviously the frustrations of the players are shared by the fans and that is understandable - but I can assure people that everyone is working hard to put things right."