Premier League

Jones: No change with Suarez

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Tue, 23 Jul 2013 12:07:00

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has promised the club's supporters that his team will not be involved in a relegation battle this season.

The Italian also believes the Black Cats will play better and more stylish football after making a host of changes to his squad this summer.

Sunderland only avoided the drop from the Premier League by three points last season after Di Canio replaced Martin O'Neill as boss at the end of March.

"For sure, our plan is to play better football and stay up more comfortably than last year," said Di Canio ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy clash with Spurs in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

"During the season, the plan that you make at the beginning of the season can change, but I am sure that we will finish in a more comfortable position this year because the players are good players and are concentrating.

"I also need to change the mentality a bit that I found last year. But I can tell you that something has changed a lot and I really think that we will have a very good season.

"You saw how we tried to play much more from the back last year. We want to have a clear identity on the field. We will have a clear identity and we play much more football than we played last year."

The Uruguay international is set to make his first appearance for the Reds this summer in tomorrow's friendly against Melbourne Victory, having flown into Australia on Sunday after extended leave following the Confederations Cup.

While he was away the 26-year-old has spoken about the attraction of Real Madrid and his agent Pere Guardiola has told the club the player wants to play in the Champions League but will not try to force through a move.

But that has not affected Suarez, who has returned to training with the same vigour he had last season and Jones said they expect him to stay.

"It's good to have Luis and (fellow Uruguay international) Seb Coates back," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"Most of the boys were joking with him about his Uruguayan (television) advert which we saw on the internet.

"Luis is a bubbly character. You always know when he's about as you can hear him five rooms away!

"He just loves football - he lives and breathes it. You saw him in training here, he's like a little kid. He doesn't want to stop - it's like waiting for your mum to call you in.

"He's that type of character. He's never going to shirk any effort. We don't expect anything less, no matter what's gone on in the media.

"He's the same player we've been used to. Nothing has changed.

"He's still here and we expect it to stay that way. We all hope he stays as he's a fantastic player. I see no reason to doubt that."

Jones has been working closely with Liverpool's new goalkeeper Simon Mignolet since the Belgium international's arrival from Sunderland.

He appears to be favourite for the number one spot as Jose Reina, who has yet to join up with the squad after his Confederations Cup involvement, could be on his way to Napoli after they made an approach for a loan deal which would reunite the Spaniard with former Reds manager Rafael Benitez.

Jones has been impressed with the new £9million signing.

"I've seen a fair bit of him and he's done really well," he told liverpoolfc.com.

"Last season was probably his best so far and Sunderland probably owe a bit to him for staying up.

"For him it's a big move but it's something he's probably deserved from last year and he'll be hoping to continue in the way he finished last season.

"His best quality is his overall quality. He's pretty consistent in everything he does. That's where you want to be - be good at every aspect, really.

"He's got a few years before he hits his peak as well. He's a very good goalkeeper.

"It doesn't change too much for me. It's a new challenge, it's someone new.

"Training has been good and it's just about getting on with it and doing your best, as you do every day."

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