Paolo Di Canio has apologised to Sunderland fans after the side were thrashed at Aston Villa and dumped back in the relegation fight.
The travelling Black Cats army were left open mouthed in the second half at Villa Park when the home team ran riot and put on a display that belied their lowly position in the table.
The defeat means Sunderland have the same points as both arch-rivals Newcastle and Aston Villa (37) but remain above the pair on goal difference with three games to play, with Wigan on 32 points but having four matches left.
“We have to apologise to our club, the fans – they travel and it is not fair,” said Black Cats boss Di Canio.
“Aston Villa looked like Sunderland did in the last two games – there was a fire, ferocity in their intention.
“It is not acceptable – maybe we were fooled by two wins in a row and now we have to make sure we get points against Stoke at home.”
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