Moyes earns Di Canio praise
Everton manager David Moyes is one of the best in the English Premier League, according to new Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio.
Moyes took over at Everton from fellow Scotsman Walter Smith in March 2002 and has led the club to nine top-half finishes in his 11 full seasons at Goodison Park.
His ability to consistently assemble a competitive squad on a small budget has not gone unnoticed and Moyes was heavily linked with a switch to Tottenham after Harry Redknapp was sacked in July last year.
Andre Villas-Boas eventually got the Spurs job and has impressed this season, but so has the Everton boss, with Di Canio making special mention of his efforts ahead of Saturday's match between the two sides at The Stadium of Light.
"You are talking about one of the best sides in the league [Everton] and a side which has been one of the best for many years now," Di Canio said.
"I like the way they play, thanks to their manager David Moyes - who is one of the best managers in this league.
"They are a solid team, physically strong - their size is something we have to concern ourselves about because they have four players who are well over six foot tall – and they have quality.
"So it is a tough team to play against but we are happy to be playing against them because you enjoy playing the top teams in this league and it will be a good challenge for us."
Moyes knows Sunderland will be fired up for the match after their 3-0 derby win at Newcastle United on Sunday.
"I think with Paolo going to the club it makes it a bit more interesting," Moyes said.
"They had a terrific win in their derby so I think it will give their players and their crowd a lift. Paolo is making his way as a young manager and he did a really good job at Swindon and his opening gambit at Sunderland has been very good.
"It is good when you see young managers come on the scene…the result they had last week will have galvanised the club more than anything.
"I only know him [Paolo] a little bit, I have met him once or twice but I remember watching him for Celtic. He was a great player and an entertaining player."
Sunderland are seeking back-to-back wins for the first time in 2013 and striker Danny Graham will be hoping to play his part.
Graham – who joined from Swansea City for five million pounds in January – is yet to score for his new club in eight matches.
Di Canio has backed the forward to end his drought in front of goal after being impressed with his efforts against Newcastle.
"I'm sure it doesn't affect him that he hasn't scored since he came here," he said.
"Sometimes people don't understand - strikers have to score goals. But sometimes they are crucial even if they don't touch one ball, in my opinion, and Graham did this job [against Newcastle] and was amazing.
"But I am sure that before the end of the season, he is also going to score important goals."