Paolo Di Canio did not get much sleep before Sunderland's 1-1 draw at Southampton after police were called to his team's hotel to investigate an incident in the early hours of Saturday morning. There were reports before the match of a "mass brawl" at the Solent Hotel & Spa in Whiteley, near Fareham, just after midnight. Sunderland were initially unable to shed any light on the matter, although the club said that none of their players were involved.

It was left to Di Canio to give a fuller version of events. "We have to clarify because I don't want speculation, big headlines," the Italian said. "Paolo Di Canio always says the truth so you write what I am telling you. At midnight, we walked out from a meeting room with my staff. From the first floor we walked downstairs to take the lift to the third floor for bed. Obviously, the players went to bed at 10 o'clock.

"Once we were close to the lift, we heard loud people shouting. I can't repeat any of it. Obviously their behaviour showed they were Southampton fans but, to be honest, I don't think they wanted to attack us physically. They were young, drunk guys there after a wedding party that was inside the hotel.

"I was screaming from behind the staff and we tried to push the third floor button and they tried to stop us. We tried to push them away and they started to open the door so we said 'now we call the police'. They didn't try to punch us in a clear way but they moved their hands and we stopped them."

Di Canio's plans to go to bed at midnight were in ruins. "We gave our version and the policeman, at 1.30am, knocked on my door again," he said. "I don't know if he loved me. He said: 'Can you tell me my version?' and I said: 'Listen, I don't have any problem because they are only young, they're drunk.'

"At the end, there was a fun moment. They said 'we are going to win, Rickie Lambert is going to score' and Fabrizio [Piccareta, assistant manager] said: 'No, tomorrow we're going to win.' It finished like this. No footballers, no fight."