London: Controversial Italian Paolo Di Canio was appointed the new manager of struggling Premier League side Sunderland on Sunday, replacing Martin O'Neill (in pic), who was sacked 24 hours earlier.
"Sunderland AFC have confirmed the appointment of Paolo Di Canio as Head Coach on a two-and-a-half year deal," said a club statement.
The 44-year-old Di Canio will take charge of the Black Cats from Monday in succession to O'Neill, who was axed on Saturday following the 1-0 defeat at home to Manchester United.
The result left Sunderland just a point above the relegation zone.
Di Canio left third-tier Swindon Town in February, having guided the club to promotion from League Two in his first managerial role.
"Paolo is hugely enthused by the challenge that lies ahead of him. He is passionate, driven and raring to get started," said Sunderland's American chairman Ellis Short.
"The sole focus of everyone for the next seven games will be to ensure we gain enough points to maintain our top-flight status. I think that the chances of that are greatly increased with Paolo joining us.
"Our fans have shown tremendous patience and understanding this season. They have continued to back the team in huge numbers, both home and away, and that is something that continues to inspire all of us in our drive to give them the successful club they deserve.
"That remains our primary aim."