Football - Giaccherini braced for derby

Emanuele Giaccherini believes the Tyne-Wear derby rivals the Rome showdown for its fiery atmosphere and is demanding total focus from his Sunderland team-mates.

PA Sport Report

The 28-year-old Italy winger has experienced the Turin derby with Juventus and has watched AC Milan tackle city rivals Inter Milan as a fan on numerous occasions.

But, according to Giaccherini, no local divide is greater than the one that separates sworn enemies Roma and Lazio in the Italian capital.

The Stadio Olimpico showdown is regularly marred by running battles between supporters and, after rioting hit Newcastle city centre in the wake of April's 3-0 defeat to Sunderland, Giaccherini anticipates another bad reaction among the losing contigent on Sunday.

"I know about the derby game - I know it is like Roma v Lazio, not Inter Milan v AC Milan," he told the Shields Gazette ahead of the Barclays Premier League meeting at the Stadium of Light.

"In the Milan derby, both sets of fans really want to win but if they lose they shrug and move on. In Rome, whichever side loses the derby, it is very bad, and I know that that is what it is like here.

"The fans should know that new players at Sunderland are quickly told how important the derby is. But I have played in derbies before and I understand what they are all about."

Sunderland are bottom of the league and Gus Poyet's first game as manager ended in a 4-0 defeat at Swansea that left the Black Cats seven points adrift of safety.

Giaccherini added: "I am looking forward to the game and every Sunderland player must do the same because we need to be completely focused on getting a win which would do a lot to change the mood and get the club going."

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