Sunderland's Paolo Di Canio: Southampton game crucial

Media playback is not supported on this device

Sunderland deserved more - Di Canio

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio believes his side's home match with Southampton on Sunday will be a "Champions League final".

The Black Cats fought back to draw 1-1 with Stoke despite being down to 10 men and their superior goal difference means a win over Southampton would probably be enough to keep them up.

The Italian said: "With 41 points we should be safe.

"This game at home against Southampton will be crucial for our destiny."

After the match against fellow strugglers Southampton, Sunderland travel to White Hart Lane to face Tottenham on 19 May, the final day of the Premier League season.

Saints are a point above the Black Cats and victory against Mauricio Pochettino's men would significantly boost the Wearsiders' survival hopes.

"We have to give everything to win this game," Di Canio said after his team stoically avoided a 17th league defeat of the season. "We are in a good position because we are at home."

Wigan, who currently occupy the final relegation spot, host Swansea on Tuesday.

Should the Latics beat the League Cup holders, Wigan would join Sunderland, Newcastle and Norwich on 38 points, with Newcastle dropping into the relegation zone because of their inferior goal difference.

"We will be in a better position than other clubs regardless of what happens tomorrow," added the Italian on Monday.

Di Canio said he was "very pleased" with the draw against Stoke after playing much of the game with 10 men once Craig Gardner was sent off for a dangerous lunge on Charlie Adam.

John O'Shea equalised in the second half to earn the hosts a point which moves them to 38 points, leaping above Norwich and Newcastle on goal difference

"I'm very pleased because this point, in my opinion, will be crucial at the end of the season," Di Canio said.

"Stoke's physical presence was amazing. I think we fully deserve the point or even more from this game. In the second half there was only one team in it.

"I'm very pleased because after the sending off we were in trouble. It was a tough challenge. I saw my players fight like warriors, with quality."

Top Stories