The appointment of Paolo Di Canio turned the heads of many Sunderland fans for a number of reasons. 

His lack of Premier League experience was the main concern for many Sunderland fans, especially since they were facing the threat of relegation.

Since then, however, a much-improved team battled against Chelsea, shoved Newcastle aside in the Tyne-Weir derby and beat Everton 1-0 at the weekend. 

So in the space of three games, the Italian has already proved that the gamble is paying off. He has since turned in to an instant folk hero following the win on Sunday. 

Di Canio praised and thanked the faith shown by Sunderland's American owner Elis Short for taking a risk on the controversial 44-year-old. After the game on Sunday the Italian was seen pointing towards Ellis and he later explained to the Guardian what it was about.

He said: "It was respect because of the decision he made. At this level, to make the decision a few weeks ago, with all the turbulence that happened, it wasn't easy because it reflected on him," Di Canio said.

The Everton game saw Di Canio take to the Stadium of Light dug out for the first time and he managed to secure three points from Champions League contenders. 

Stephan Sessègnon has rediscovered the form of last season since the start of Di Canio's reign and has got two goals in two games. 

Di Canio looks to have connected a disjointed team together in recent weeks, improving fitness and team morale, while also picking up points along the way. 

Sunderland are now six points from the relegation zone with four games remaining and only three points off getting the magic 40-point landmark that is seen as survival in the Premier League. 

With two games against Aston Villa and Stoke, fellow contenders for the drop, six points will surely see Sunderland safe for another season in the top flight.

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