Paolo Di Canio claims Sunderland were 'poisoned' by derby success against Newcastle

3-0 win at St James' Park followed by 6-1 defeat against Aston Villa

Paolo Di Canio has admitted poison seeped into the veins of his players in the run-up to their 6-1 defeat at Aston Villa on Monday night.

The heavy loss has pushed Sunderland back into the Premier League relegation fight and Di Canio has blamed the celebrations that followed successive victories against Newcastle and Everton.

He has also called on his players to play with more of an edge as they bid to find the points to keep Sunderland out of the Championship.

"We felt safe and after Everton we relaxed," said Di Canio. "After the Newcastle result, it was poison. It's not acceptable. I can understand it, but it's not acceptable. It happened with a group of genuine players, they didn't do it because they wanted to or because they're bad professionals.

"We have to accept the process to extend the motivation to always want more. You can't change the mentality in two or three weeks. There was a three-day party [after Newcastle], I couldn't go 300 yards to cut my hair. There's a tradition in Naples they all come out. You can't go out because a butcher comes out with meat saying, 'It's for you, for your family'. I couldn't go into town. I went 300 yards, 20 people. This is four days after what happened they pass word to each other.

"Many girls came and hugged me and I was wondering what was going on. I couldn't imagine the passion. I can imagine players around town. They feel big. We have to make sure for the future we don't get poisoned.

"They are very genuine, but very shy. Before what happened to Stéphane Sessègnon [getting sent off against Villa], this team had not had one red card. Now, I don't want to see my players getting red cards, but even in terms of yellow cards, this isn't a team that has suffered much in that respect. Reading and QPR are relegated, but they have two of the best records in the league in terms of getting yellow cards. They have had very few.

"I'm not saying you have to get yellow cards, but maybe we are too nice. I'm not saying we have to have the devil in us because people will say, 'Di Canio wants a killer in his team'. But while this is a very genuine group, we are sometimes too clean. We need to have a bit more of an edge."

Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
filmDheepan, film review
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
News
peopleComedian star of Ed Sullivan Show was mother to Ben Stiller
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
News
George Osborne became Chancellor in 2010
peopleChancellor accused of reneging on pre-election promise
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
News
Lena Headey plays Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern