ASton Villa kicked us up backside, now Sunderland must hit back against long-ball Stoke

AN UNHAPPY NIGHT: Seb Larsson at Villa Park
AN UNHAPPY NIGHT: Seb Larsson at Villa Park

SEB LARSSON hopes Sunderland’s Villa Park thrashing proves to be a “kick up the backside” after sifting through the video horror-show of the 6-1 rout.

Paolo Di Canio immediately put his players through the chastening experience of analysing the footage of Monday night’s humiliation at relegation rivals Aston Villa after they returned to training on Tuesday.

Di Canio had done the same following his previous three games in charge of the Black Cats, yet there was a very different tone from the head coach after Sunderland’s heaviest defeat in more than three years.

Midfielder Larsson admits watching the replay was a painful experience, but says Di Canio has made it abundantly clear what Sunderland must put right in Monday’s visit of Stoke City whose long-ball game will give the hosts a tough night.

“We got a right kick up the backside and there will be a real determination and hunger to put that right on Monday,” said Larsson.

“We’ve watched the Villa game back and gone through it.

“It was painful to watch, but I think it needed to be after a performance like that.

“You’ve got to be really honest and tough towards yourself and as a team, because that second half was nowhere near what we’d produced in the weeks before.

“Once you set your standards and drop below them, it’s not good enough.

“Since the manager came in, we’ve gone through all the games very thoroughly.

“But obviously there was a lot more negatives out of this one and it’s not a nice feeling to sit and watch it.

“It hurts enough as it is, but you have to do it and let it hurt. You don’t want to repeat that feeling.”

SEE Thursday’s Mail for full story