PAOLO Di Canio drew a huge sigh of relief at Wigan’s failure to pull off another great escape.
But the Italian insists a club of Sunderland’s stature and resources should never have been this close to relegation in the first place.
Wigan needed to beat Arsenal at the Emirates to drag the battle for Premier League survival into the final game of the season, and Sunderland and Aston Villa into it with them.
But after going in at the half-time break with the scores 1-1, a killer second half on a rain-sodden pitch proved too much for Roberto Martinez’s men who ended being beaten 4-1 in what was their fourth game in 10 days.
Defeat means Wigan on 35 points cannot now catch 39-point Sunderland, who are guaranteed Premier League football in the 2013-14 season.
And that will delight the club’s owner Ellis Short, who will now hope to take the club forward as the biggest money-spinning TV deal in history kicks in next season.
But while Di Canio is understandably relieved to have helped get Sunderland over the line he is frustrated that a club which has received such backing should have struggled so badly.
“We shouldn’t be in a situation where we are looking at other sides’ results hoping for favours and praying that Wigan do not win,” he said.
“We should be getting the points that we need to make ourselves safe, not worrying about anyone else.
“We had the chance to do that against Southampton but we did not take the chance.
“I’m disappointed about that.
“If we were a smaller club or did not have the resources we might have an excuse but the owner has put a lot of money into this club in the last few years and the club itself is one of the bigger ones in the Premier League.”