Paolo Di Canio

We didn't lose our brains - Di Canio

by Stuart Vose

Boss finds positives in late defeat.

Paolo Di Canio couldn't fault his players' effort and application after they suffered a late defeat at Spurs.

An 89th-minute goal from Gareth Bale seperated the sides at White Hart Lane after it looked like Sunderland's concerted rearguard action would earn them a point.

“We’re obviously disappointed with the result but the lads have done a very good job,” Di Canio said.

“They gave everything in terms of commitment and desire but we’re still going back with zero points from the game.”

Spurs created numerous chances but couldn't get the better of Simon Mignolet and the Sunderland defence until Bale's late intervention.

The visitors' back line held out under constant pressure with their last line of defence producing big saves when required.

But Sunderland's keeper could do nothing about Bale's winner – a thunderous shot from outside the box for his 21st league goal of the season.

“Gareth Bale made the difference once again for Tottenham with a great piece of play,” said Di Canio, who saw David Vaughan sent off for a second bookable offence with a quarter of an hour remaining.

“I’m very happy with the performance; it was disciplined and we didn’t lose our brains.

“Sometimes in final games the players are too relaxed and thinking about their holidays, but that was not the case today. Spurs had to work hard to get their three points.

“The team did well considering players like Jack Colback and Sebastian Larsson weren’t in their normal positions.”

Meanwhile Di Canio reserved praise for the travelling fans, who turned out in numbers to cheer their side through the final game of the campaign.

“A big thank you to the fans,” the head coach said. “They sang all the way through the game and I loved seeing them in their section of the stadium in their red and white shirts.

“I wish we could have got a point for them to have something to celebrate. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, but the players wore the shirt and played the best way they could today.”