Britannia Stadium

Next Game

Stoke v S'land

Saturday, 25 April 2015, 15:00

Barclays Prem

Stadium of Light

Last Game

S'land 1 - 4 C Palace

Saturday, 11 April 2015, 15:00

Barclays Prem

Di Canio: Villa our cup final

Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio says Monday night's showdown with fellow strugglers Aston Villa is their "Champions League final".

Last Updated: 29/04/13 at 19:40 Post Comment

Paolo Di Canio: This is our cup final

Paolo Di Canio: This is our cup final

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Victory at Villa Park on Monday night would establish a six-point gap between the Black Cats and Paul Lambert's men with three games of the season left.

Di Canio said: "If we win on Monday, we stay up. I have told my players, Monday is a Champions League final.

"Since the first day we joined together at the beginning of the week, I told them, 'Take this week as the most important week of the season because if we win on Monday, we stay up and we do it three games in advance.

"'It's probably not mathematical, but we would be very close, so it means that you are capable'.

"I told my players, 'When I came in here, we were nearly strangled - you have turned the season in three games here. You did that, you were capable of winning two in a row.

'If we win the next one, in three weeks, you have turned completely the season'."

The Black Cats were sliding towards relegation until Di Canio arrived but victories over Newcastle and Everton have given them breathing space.

Di Canio said: "It doesn't mean that now we have become a Champions League side, but victory at Villa would mean that with three games to go, we could finish in a good position.

"Obviously, it's step by step, but I told them, 'Think about Monday as a Champions League final, work as hard as you did in the last few weeks because there is a big opportunity to stay in this league with three games to go.

"'Enjoy the last three games and try to get the maximum points we can'. I went to St James' Park without any sort of worry - you can't imagine I would be worried at Villa Park, with all respect."

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Footer 365

Mikel Arteta close to agreeing new Arsenal deal

Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta is confident it will take "five minutes" to finalise a contract extension.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho defends Manchester City boss

Jose Mourinho spoke out in defence of underfire Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini ahead of welcoming rivals United.

PFA Women's Player of the Year: The Contenders

We take a closer look at the PFA Women's Player of the Year nominees.

Mail Box

Wenger's Titles Down To United Woes...

Well, it's certainly one theory. Man United fans are out in force - decrying Wenger and defending FFP. We have mails on Coquelin, Coutinho and Mediawatch...

Mailbox: The Pros And Cons Of FFP

The mailbox has gone a little bit serious as they debate the pros and cons of FFP. Does it create a closed shop or opportunity? Plus, POTY nominations and...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company