Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio was forced to apologise to fans after their 6-1 drumming away to Aston Villa last night.
The 10-man Black Cats lost an integral game in the Premier League relegation battle at the hands of Paul Lambert's youthful Villa side, and the passionate Italian was far from happy.
"We have to apologise to the supporters. You can lose with a big gap but the way it happened was not acceptable," he told reporters post-match.
This was Sunderland's biggest defeat since 2010, and it leaves the Black Cats on par with Villa and Newcastle on 37 points, five points clear of third-bottom Wigan.
Stephane Sessegnon got his marching orders in the 70th minute, which didn't help Di Canio's evening at Villa Park.
Christian Benteke showcased his finishing ability, notching up a second-half treble to illustrate the dominance of the home side.
Sunderland went a goal down to Ron Vlaar after he swerved a shot in from distance, before in-form Danny Rose equalised. Then, Andreas Weimann put the home side ahead, before Belgian Benteke gave the Sunderland defence nightmares.
Sunderland's David Vaughan unfortunately played a beautiful through ball to Gabriel Agbonlahor to make it six to round off a disappointing night.
Disappointed Di Canio added: "It is beautiful to be there with the fans when you win against Newcastle. But you also have to stand in front of them when you lose heavily. Every time we can lose, but not in this manner."
His side still have Stoke, Southampton and Tottenham in their final three games this season, with the battle for survival tighter than ever.
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