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The Black Cats boss admitted his side's display in the 6-1 loss to Aston Villa wasn't good enough, but the Italian is now looking ahead to the last three games of the season

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has slammed his side’s performance in the 6-1 defeat to Aston Villa on Monday night, dubbing it "unacceptable".

Di Canio intends to look at himself and his players to pinpoint what went wrong for the Black Cats and how they can avoid falling deeper into the relegation dogfight.

Danny Rose had equalised for the Black Cats after Ron Vlaar opened the scoring, but five further goals for the home side, including a Christian Benteke hat-trick, earned Villa a deserved and rampant victory.

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Di Canio told the club's official website: “It was a very bad performance – it wasn’t acceptable. I’m going to analyse my players and myself this week and work out what has happened.”

Sunderland had won their previous two games since Di Canio’s arrival at the Stadium of Light, including a huge win over local rivals Newcastle, but their performance against Villa was well below those standards.

The manager continued: “We switched off. Maybe after two wins in a row we felt a bit full in our stomachs – but this cannot be the case, it’s never possible to be full – even at the highest level.

“We have to defend our pride and honour; we have a big responsibility to do that in all games.”

Villa’s win lifted the Midlands outfit to 37 points, the same number as Sunderland and Newcastle, leaving the Black Cats' Premier League status in the balance once more, but Di Canio has backed his side to bounce back.

“Aston Villa looked like we did in our last two games – they had fire and ferocity,” the Italian boss added.

“It’s obvious how the players are feeling right now, I have had results worse than this in my career and I felt like the worst player in the world.

“It’s important that we understand that we had a bad performance tonight and we will look at why this happened but we can’t burn what we have built over the last two games.

“We have two home games now and we know we can’t relax; it’s by no means acceptable. We are going to work as hard as we have in the last two weeks as we look forward to these games.”

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