PAOLO Di Canio today apologised to Sunderland fans in the wake of the thumping 6-1 defeat at Aston Villa.
It was the Black Cats’ biggest loss since January 2010 when Steve Bruce saw his side beaten 7-2 by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
And it has put Sunderland right back in the relegation mire.
“It’s obvious that that it is not an acceptable performance,” said the Italian, who made a point of taking his players over to the away stand to applaud the few travelling fans who remained at the final whistle.
“We can lose – that can happen,” he said.
“But the way we lost was not acceptable.
“Always there is a chance in English football that you can have a result and a performance like this – I know that.
“But we should have been better than that.
“My players gave everything in the last couple of weeks to get us the good wins we got and I think they may have relaxed - relaxed too much – having got those victories.
“Obviously we have to apologise to our fans.
“We have a responsibility and we let them down.”
Now Di Canio says Sunderland will redouble their efforts in preparation for the home game against Stoke City on Monday.
“It is an important period of the season and we have to take this humiliation and use it as motivation.
“We need to keep this great football club in the Premier League and we need at least three points to do that.”