Di Canio dedicates derby victory to his late mother

The besuited Di Canio slid on his knees along the touchline after Adam Johnson scored Sunderland's second goal. Photo: PA

Paolo Di Canio dedicated a stunning derby victory at Newcastle to his late mother after Sunderland enhanced their prospects of Barclays Premier League survival.

The 44-year-old Italian celebrated on his knees as the Black Cats romped to a 3-0 win at St James' Park, their first in enemy territory in 13 years and just their second anywhere in 17 attempts.

A priceless triumph ended a run of nine league games without a victory and lifted the club three points clear of the relegation zone with five matches left to play.

Asked if that was how he had dreamt the first derby encounter of his reign would be, Di Canio said: "Can I tell you something?

"Sometimes, some special things have to remain inside yourself. It's not good to share with others because it's very deep inside yourself.

"But I believe in this thing. Before the kick-off, I saw the face of my Mama smiling. Exactly yesterday, it was one year since she passed away.

"Exactly one year ago, there was the same situation. I was in the dug-out the day after she passed away and we won the game - I was at Swindon - and today, it has happened again.

"For this, I have to thank not only my Mama, otherwise my Dad - he is next to her, but today, he is going to be upset.

"But Dad, Mama was special today, so my dedication goes to her today, to my Mam."

Sunderland started confidently and might have been awarded a penalty when Steven Taylor grabbed a handful of Danny Graham's shirt after being turned and prevented him from shooting.

But they did take the lead with 27 minutes gone when the hugely impressive Stephane Sessegnon was allowed to work his way into a good position before dispatching a low, skidding drive past Tim Krul into the bottom corner.

Newcastle emerged after the break desperate to shake off a tepid opening 45 minutes and thought they had levelled with 61 minutes gone when Papiss Cisse rifled home from close range, only for an incorrect offside flag to halt his celebrations.

But the Black Cats were not to be denied and the game was effectively over with 16 minutes remaining when Adam Johnson fired past substitute goalkeeper Rob Elliot from distance, and David Vaughan added the icing to the cake with a superb 82nd-minute strike.

Di Canio, who described his latest experience of a big derby as "beautiful", was thrilled by the way his game-plan was implemented by the players, but warned them not to get too carried away.

He said: "The big rivalry we have got in this area is very famous around the world, so to get the three points away from home against Newcastle was fantastic.

"But now we have to drop back and put both feet on the floor. For the result in the area, it is a massive step, but in terms of the table, it's a small step.

"We are on 34 [points] now, we are not safe, but it's obvious that it was a fantastic result for everybody."

Di Canio attended the post-match press conference with the evidence of his Jose Mourinho-like slide across the St James' turf clear for all to see.

He said: "It's the second pair of trousers have lost - but I would like to lose my trousers every weekend. I would lose all my money, to be honest.

"I wanted to go further, but I couldn't because I am too old. I have only 20 yards in my legs now - that's why I fell down."

Opposite number Alan Pardew was understandably subdued after a game which saw his side fail to claim a fifth successive home league victory in spectacular style.

He said: "We will have to wear it, probably next year as well. That's what happens when you lose one of these games.

"We are under no illusions as to the responsibility we have to our fans, and we have let them down today 100 per cent."