Sunderland coach Paolo Di Canio thinks his team is just one win away from securing Premier League survival, calling this weekend’s home game against Southampton “our Champions League final.” The Black Cats are currently 15th with 38 points. If Wigan Athletic beats Swansea City tonight, then Sunderland, Norwich, Newcastle and Wigan would all be tied on 38, but Sunderland would maintain its position thanks to a vastly superior goal-difference.
"Southampton is absolutely, absolutely, a big game," Di Canio said following Sunderland’s 1-1 draw at home to Stoke City on Monday. "It's our Champions League final, it's crucial for our destiny. It's hard to say, and it depends on what happens with Wigan tomorrow, but I think that, if we win against Southampton, with our goal difference, we should be OK." Di Canio suggested that he does not want to go into Sunderland’s final game of the season against Tottenham at White Hart Lane needing three points.
The Italian described the draw with Stoke as “a massive point,” praising his players, who were forced to play with ten men after Craig Gardner was sent-off in the 34th minute, for their “amazing second-half concentration.” He added: “There was only one team in the second half, in my opinion.”