Carlos Cuellar: 'Paolo Di Canio left Sunderland fractured'

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Sunderland at Selhurst Park on August 31, 2013
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Sunderland defender Carlos Cuellar shares his belief that Paolo Di Canio's leadership "fractured" the dressing room.

Sunderland defender Carlos Cuellar has declared that his side turned a corner under Kevin Ball last week, while insisting that Paolo Di Canio's leadership "fractured" the dressing room.

Di Canio was dismissed after Sunderland failed to win any of their first five games in the Premier League, with Ball placed in temporary charge.

Cuellar did not feature in Di Canio's plans but has returned to first-team action under Ball, with the Spaniard adamant that things are more positive on Wearside despite last weekend's 3-1 defeat to Liverpool.

He told The Mirror: "A difficult week? No, it was a good week because we won in the cup, everybody was happy and got back their confidence.

"There was a feeling that a family was being fractured with everything that was going on, but now it is pushing us in the right direction."

Sunderland confirmed yesterday that Ball will remain in charge of first-team affairs this week, including Saturday's clash with Manchester United at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland caretaker manager Kevin Ball prior to kick-off in his team's League Cup match against Peterborough on September 24, 2013
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