Sunderland v Southampton: Can Di Canio’s Men Get Over The Line?

Sunderland can all but guarantee Premier League survival if they beat Southampton at the Stadium of Light in the Black Cats’ last home game of a rollercoaster campaign.

Aston Villa’s 2-1 defeat at home to Champions League place chasing Chelsea on Saturday lunchtime means that if Paolo Di Canio’s team win on Sunday afternoon they will be safe by virtue of the fact that Villa go to FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic on the final day of the season.

Going into the game, Di Canio says that the point gained on Monday when his team came from 1-0 down with 10 men following Craig Gardner’s straight red to draw level and claim a point against Stoke City will be crucial as to the final outcome in the relegation battle.

And the former West Ham United and Lazio forward says the fight shown from last week’s game must be the least his players show.

Di Canio said: “I said straight after the game it (getting a point) will probably be crucial. The way it came it was even more important because in the second half, even if we didn’t create ten chances we were on top in my opinion.

“We had better possession and the players gave their best, not only with their heart but there was a very good discipline – the shape was amazing and we didn’t give them many chances.

“We were on top physically also so that has to be our start for the season – we have to feel this spirit in every single match to get something.”

Sunderland will be once again without the banned Stephane Sessegnon and Craig Gardner with both serving three match bans. Di Canio has confirmed that the pair have been fined.

Despite missing the duo though, Di Canio feels his team should have the required ability to claim three points against Mauricio Pochettino’s Saints, who are still not safe themselves and sit on 39 points.

The South Coast side will be missing forward Gaston Ramirez for the match on Wearside as he continues his three game ban, but Danny Fox, who was also sent off in their game against West Bromwich Albion comes back into contention.

“We have home advantage and our fans behind us and the bond we have among the remaining players is enough for us to win this game,” added Di Canio.

Sunderland v Southampton kicks off at 3pm on Sunday.

 

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