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'I saw her face before kick-off' -- Paulo Di Canio dedicates victory to late mother

Sunderland boosted their hopes with a stunning 3-0 against fierce rivals Newcastle yesterday.
Apr 15th 2013, 9:25 AM 1,221 3

PAULO DI CANIO dedicated his first victory as Sunderland manager to his mother who passed away a year ago a year ago.

Sunderland won 3-0 in their Premier League derby at Newcastle United to enhance Di Canio’s chances of leading the club away from trouble near the foot of the table. And, while the Italian handed most of the credit to his players, he was also thinking of his mother Pierina as the final whistle went.

The match was played 24 hours after the first anniversary of her death and Di Canio dedicated the success to her.

“I saw my mother’s face just before the kick-off and it was a very emotional moment for me,” he said. “I was in the dug out the day after she passed away and we won the game — and it has happened again. My dedication goes to her.”

Whatever the inspiration for Sunderland’s most convincing derby victory over Newcastle in 34 years, Sunderland’s supporters were happy to witness it.

Di Canio has been at the club for less than a fortnight, but was already aware of what this match meant to them, an importance increased by the need for points to ease relegation concerns.

“It was important to get the three points because there is a big rivalry between the clubs that is famous around world,” said the Italian. “It is a massive step in terms of a result for this area, but a small step in terms of the table. It’s a little step, but a very important one.

“We are not safe but it’s still a fantastic result for everybody. What the players gave today was special. They were warriors. It is the best win of my career so far. I was at Swindon and won the league and many important games in the cup, but it is special when you arrive at the top league in the world and win one of the hottest derbies in the world.

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“They fight for the kingdom in this area, so this is a fantastic moment, but it means nothing if we don’t stop up.”

© AFP, 2013

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