Boss in good heart going into final home game of 2012-13.
Paolo Di Canio believes his side will go into this weekend’s game against Southampton in good spirits following their fightback against Stoke.
The 10-man Black Cats bagged what Di Canio described as a “crucial” point at the Stadium of Light courtesy of John O’Shea’s second-half equaliser.
Now they face the Saints looking to move beyond the 40-point mark and pull further away from the bottom three.
“We are fully confident; the second half especially gave us more belief and an extra lift,” Di Canio told safc.com.
“At 10 versus 11 we dominated the second half, in my opinion. We deserved completely the point.
“Now we have another massive game because we know that if we win, we stay up.”
Since taking over at the Stadium of Light last month, Di Canio has already begun to stamp his mark on the club.
And the Italian says he is looking for a change in mentality, focused around more of an inward-looking mindset.
“Daily I discover other traits and character of this environment, and in general I am not enjoying,” he explained.
“Too much, people spend time watching other [teams], which is normal at this stage of the season.
“But it is a habit in this environment which I want to change completely.
“We delegate our job to others. That is not my idea, I want to do my own job. I want to think positively in the way we do things, not wait to try for others to do things for us.
“To change the mentality normally takes a few months, but we have to start from now.
“We have to think only and focus about our game. Our destiny is in our hands.”
Just a point seperates Sunderland and Southampton in the Barclays Premier League table, with the Saints holding a slim advantage.
A Sunderland victory would all but secure top-flight status, with the Black Cats three points clear of the relegation zone and a significantly healthier goal difference.
Di Canio added: “It is difficult for both sides. If we win, we stay up; if they win, they stay up. It’s a good challenge.
“I’m curious and I am sure my players are going to deliver a very good performance because they know how important the game is.
“After what happened on Monday night [against Stoke] we are really focused for the next game.”