Onside: Paolo Di Canio’s Sunderland need derby spirit in survival battle

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First of all - what a result.

Sunderland gave the fans just what they wanted and themselves what they needed.

Ellis Short’s decision to oust Martin O’Neill and install Paolo Di Canio was justified after 90 minutes of passion, commitment and effort from every player in red and white at St James’ Park on Sunday afternoon.

But now there is another six games to survive and we are still in a relegation battle.

Even though we pulled our closest rivals into the fight, we made a big step towards our own safety. But Di Canio, dirty knees and all, summed it up perfectly by saying it would mean nothing if Sunderland are relegated.

Next up, a home game against bogey-side Everton, which will be tough as always. But a home fixture means that fans will be expectant of three points – especially after the display at Newcastle.

It seems that around 14 teams are playing for something at either end of the table and with the remaining fixtures involving all sides looking for either safety or a spot in Europe.

Stoke have been dragged into the relegation dog fight after a poor season and a visit from Tony Pulis’ men will be even harder than ever.

Southampton, if results go against them, could fall closer to the drop zone, but then a trip to Tottenham could prove to be the survival Sunday that everyone dreads.

So there should be some interesting games between now and the end of the season, but the main thing is winning the home fixtures.

Make the Stadium of Light a fortress and we will stay in the Premier League. Simple as that.

But after Sunday’s performance, you could excuse Sunderland fans for getting excited about the next few games and next season... in the Premier League?

Ha’way the lads.