May 6, 2013 at 8pm UK at ​Stadium of Light
StokeStoke City
O'Shea (63')
Jimenez Cuellar (32'), Larsson (35')
Gardner (34')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Walters (9')
Whitehead (12'), Nzonzi (44')

Paolo Di Canio: 'Point will be crucial'

Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio smiles prior to kick off in the match against Stoke on May 6, 2013
© AP Photos
Sunderland manager Paolo di Canio believes that the points his side picked up against Stoke this evening will be vital in the relegation battle.

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has expressed his belief that the point his side picked up in tonight's 1-1 draw with Stoke City will be crucial in the relegation battle.

The Black Cats were reduced to 10 men midway through the first half but managed to come from behind to secure a point that lifts them three points clear of the relegation zone with two games left.

Wigan Athletic, who currently sit in 18th place, will face Swansea City in their game in hand over Di Canio's side tomorrow night, and the Italian revealed that he wouldn't watch the match for fear of jinxing the result.

"What can you say at half time? I tried to motivate my players and told them that we were playing at home. If you don't concede a second goal, you can stay in the game," said Di Canio.

"The players were amazing to react in the way they did. This point in my opinion will be crucial at the end of the season. I will not cry or make an excuse. We have players missing and I will only focus on those players I can select.

"We have to handle our aggression. It is a Champions League final for us against Southampton at the weekend. I will not watch Wigan tomorrow as last time I watched them they won."

The win lifts Sunderland up to 15th in the Premier League table, level on points with Norwich City and Newcastle United with Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur left to play.

Sunderland's Adam Johnson scores the second goal against Newcastle on April 14, 2013
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