SAFC v Everton

Di Canio wants renewed focus

by Stuart Vose

We were too relaxed, says boss.

Paolo Di Canio felt Sunderland were too “relaxed” after back-to-back wins prior to the 6-1 reverse at Aston Villa.

The heavy defeat at Villa Park came following victories against Newcastle and Everton, leaving Di Canio to remind his charges of the need to remain focused.

“After two good wins, and the results we saw for Wigan and Newcastle [last weekend], we relaxed too much,” he said.

“It’s clear that is true. We have to remember that if we don’t perform like we can, we can receive a big slap every time.

“We must make sure we drop back to how we were over the previous three weeks.”

Di Canio has been refocusing his side ahead of the final three games of the season, starting with Monday’s home clash with Stoke.

He says he’s experienced such heavy defeats as a player following good runs but has warned that such a reverse can’t happen again.

“When I was a player, we won an important game against a top side, and then the week after lost 7-1," he explained.

“I don’t accept it as a manager, but I know it can happen. It’s not acceptable, especially in this moment of the season.

“People say we need three points, but in the end we have to get them. No-one can give out the guarantee.

“We have to make sure we don’t repeat it.”