1. ITV Report

Villa thrash Sunderland to leave relegation battle wide open

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio (right) with Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert after the final whistle last night Photo: Andrew Matthews/EMPICS Sport

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has apologised to fans after the club's 6-1 annihilation at the hands of Aston Villa.

Despite the Black Cats equalising through a great team goal finished by Danny Rose, it was Christian Benteke who stole the headlines with an impressive second-half hat-trick. To make matters worse for Sunderland, Stephane Sessegnon was shown a straight red card and will be suspended for their final three games of the season.

The result puts Villa level on points with Sunderland and Newcastle United in the Premier League table, with Wigan trailing all three sides by five points.

Speaking after last night's match at Villa Park, Di Canio said:

"We have to apologise to the supporters.

"You can lose with a big gap but the way it happened was not acceptable.

"Aston Villa had a ferocity. They had desire and ambition, like it was the last chance of their lives.

"For us, after two wins in a row, our stomach was a bit full. When you eat a lot, you relax, you sleep. Now we have to work with blood in our eyes."

– Paolo Di Canio, Sunderland AFC Manager

Sunderland host Stoke City in their next league match on Monday 6th April.