Di Canio's side currently sit three points clear of safety with two games remaining as fixtures against Southampton and Tottenham await the Black Cats.
|14/1||Sunderland are 14/1 with BetVictor to beat Southampton 2-0
"It was a bitter experience for me. I was devastated. I never imagined I would have a moment like that at West Ham with so many talented players. I was devastated for everyone, but some of the players did not care," he told The Mirror.
"I make sure they [the squad] know what it means if this club were to go down. I remind them. I tell the youngest and the oldest ‘don’t take this too lightly’ because, for some of my players, they don’t care because they are selfish when they are young."
Di Canio went on to admit that relegation would mean he had failed as manager of Sunderland, and also used the prospect of continuing to face historic and star-studded teams, such as Manchester United and Chelsea, as motivation to stay up.
"I don’t want to think about relegation. When I came here it was because I thought I could keep this club up. So if we go down it means I’ve failed my mission," he continued.
"I say: ‘Show you want to go to Manchester City, Manchester United or Chelsea. Who says you’ll have another chance to play in the Premier League? That should be enough motivation to give your best’."