SWINDON Town’s build-up to the trip to Preston reminded Paolo Di Canio of a school reunion, and the Robins boss is convinced that hampered his team’s chances of getting a result at Deepdale.
After five new signings were made in the final two days of the transfer window, Town’s latest recruits had spent the 48 hours prior to kick-off in Lancashire catching up with old friends from within the game.
And Di Canio said that distracted his players’ mental preparations for the game.
“It looked in the last few days like an old reunion,” he said. “People that play with other people two years ago or three years ago speaking only about personal stories – where you’ve been, why you left, I’m a fan, enjoy, go out for pizza – which is good sometimes to gel together.
“But sometimes you disturb yourself from focusing because we are a team that has to stay 200 per cent to play well.
“Even if we fly like a butterfly for half an hour or maybe two hours like we did on the coach yesterday – if that has come in now we have to cancel straight away.
“Now we know each other, now there is no time more to spend five or six hours out having pizza and having only personal stories. This doesn’t help because we were distracted by the situation.
“Obviously that is my fault because I brought in five players but just to send a message now I told them ‘now we know each other, don’t spend too much time talking about what we did last year or in pre-season’ because we are teammates, we only have to work together, shout the mouth, work hard, focus the attention and put the heart, the passion completely into the game.
“Today we don’t have to cancel; we have to remember what we did today.”