Mamma mia! Vision of mother won derby for Sunderland, insists Paolo Di Canio after victory over Newcastle
The Black Cats stunned St James' Park with a 3-0 win
Paolo Di Canio believes seeing a vision of his dead mother Pierina before the North-east derby was the inspiration for Sunderland's historic victory.
Di Canio led Sunderland to their biggest win against Newcastle since 1979, and succeeded in keeping a clean sheet at St James' Park for the first time in a league game since 1966. The new manager was the inspiration for a stunning win, but he in turn said it had been his mother who had watched over the momentous day, that had helped make it happen.
"Before the kick off I saw the face of my mother smiling," said Di Canio. "Before the kick off I believe in this thing. It is one year since she passed away. It is not an accident. I believe in this energy. For this, I was sure today, you may think maybe 'he's mad'.
"It's obvious it was an emotional moment. Exactly one year ago, there was the same situation. I was in the dugout the day after she passed away and we won the game. I was at Swindon and today it happened again. For this I have to thank not only my Mamma, but otherwise my Dadda, he is next to her. My dedication goes to my mam today. "
Di Canio ran down the touchline and slid on his knees after Adam Johnson's goal, which was the second for Sunderland. He called the victory his best as a manager and paid credit to his players, calling them warriors.
"I understand why they sing the manager's name but they have to sing the player's name. They players worked so hard. My players were warriors today. The derby was beautiful. This stadium full of passion. Approximately 2,800 of our fans, they were very far, I didn't remember it was so far away. They were loud during the game and that was fantastic."
Alan Pardew in contrast must try and lift his players after a truly catastrophic week. Newcastle were knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday night and now face a fight to stay in the Premier League after a crushing defeat.
"I don't feel particularly great," he said. "It was a tough day. They looked like a team who had worked all week on us and we looked like a team that had a really tough game on Thursday night. It was a great day for Sunderland and an awful day for us."
Trouble flared in Newcastle after the defeat as Sunderland fans were escorted towards the city's train station. Missiles were thrown at police as they kept the two sets of supporters apart. Three police officers were taken to hospital and 29 arrests were made throughout the course of the day.
A Northumbria spokeswoman said: "The most serious incident involved a group of Newcastle fans in Central Station attempting to confront Sunderland supporters, but they were intercepted by officers from British Transport Police. During this incident missiles were thrown at the officers, which resulted in three injuries to officers, one of them requiring assessment at hospital." Sunderland fans had earlier thrown a smoke bomb into a section filled with Newcastle supporters.
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