Paolo Hits Back

Paolo Di Canio is dismayed by reports that said he had a bust-up with Glenn Roeder at White Hart Lane on Sunday, revealing what he really said - and insists the flak that is flying will drive the club on for the next millennium.

Referring to stories that he swore at Glenn as he ran to the bench after setting up Trevor Sinclair's equaliser, he says: "Once again there have been some stupid articles from people that have nothing to do but write lies.

"People who buy newspapers might hope to read the truth, but once again they have been betrayed, as have people who do write proper things.

"It is a shame for the supporters and for us, because when I said to my team mates a few months ago that the journalists and the sports media wanted to see us down they didn't believe me, and now they can.

"They are happy to make problems and now we are at the bottom at the moment they invent situations, making a lot of things from nothing.

"They want to see this club finished early, now even, but this club will not be finished in the next thousand years.

"That is what I feel when I read things - that they hate us - but we won't make them happy because we will rise."

At least Paolo can afford himself a smile when he says that, uncharacteristically, he did not mind being subbed on Sunday.

"This is a shame and curious, because for the first time in my life I was happy when substituted, but they write that I was saying f*** off - when I actually shook the manager's hand," he says.

"Everyone knows if I have something to say, like at Fulham last year, I tell things to people's face.

"They are trying to make out that I am not a good, honest man - but I do not shake someone's hand and then speak badly about them behind their back.

"They have the power to write what they want and nobody has the power to stop them, but they can't say anything about my private life or my professionalism - and for this they are sad."

Revealing what actually was said by the bench, Paolo explains: "We were celebrating together, I was saying 'come on, this is for you Glenn' and I wanted to dedicate the draw to him because I know how he is suffering.

"But they wrote the complete opposite story even though Glenn was there shaking my hand and saying 'come on, yes, Paolo'.

"I said 'we play for you' because I know he is in a worse situation than us as the manager - it is so frustrating for him, and he suffers.

"I wanted to celebrate with him, and then they wrote a completely different story.

"Then he called me closer and said 'Paolo, can you go on?' and I said 'yes, for another four or five minutes'.

"When I came off - and I knew I would have to, being a little bit tired after two games in three days after five months out, and because we were down to ten men I sacrificed myself - I encouraged every player.

"I said a word to Lomas, to Breen, to Winterburn, to Dailly, then I shook the manager's hand, andI told Jermain to work his socks off, to defend and work hard.

"I encouraged him, and I encouraged everybody, so how could they say this - is it because they hate West Ham?

"The media make themselves look silly when they write these things, and I hope that the supporters don't fall in their trap. We have to stay a unit against the sports writers because they hate West Ham.

"But it is not working and unfortunately for them we are stronger than before - it is giving us extra energy.

"We will do everything to get up the table and we will make our critics sad, because their target is to see us down as a team and as players in the dressing room."

Although most upset by criticisms of the club, he is also defiant about what is being written about him personally, and adds: "They don't have anything to do other than attack me because I am the leader, the skipper, and they hate this because every time they write that I have to go on the bench.

"I don't know why - they are mad, because I create chances and even though we lost we created seven chances away.

"They are having a go at me and us because they hope someone will fall in the trap, and put ourselves against each other.

"They are saying I am old, but I am still a player who can make a difference - and this is the truth.

"What they have done to me in the last three years is shown by a perfect example yesterday.

"They are attacking me from nothing because I played a fantastic game and made two goals, and I am still the player I was three years ago, if not better.

"If people don't believe that, now they should, and I will decide when I finish - they cannot decide for me."

Paolo says that the home fans will see the spirit and determination on Saturday against Manchester City, and adds: "The supporters can come to Upton Park and see that we are a unit - more so than before - and I say to them don't buy the newspapers that wrote that I abused Glenn.

"They don't have to give the newspapers money, and neither do all the supporters in England, because from nothing they have written completely the opposite of the truth.

"These writers lead a good life because of us and it is a shame that supporters buy these newspapers thinking they write the truth; 90% is lies.

"It is incredible what they wrote, but they are jealous frustrated people - we are stronger than before, and there are a lot of games to come."