Paolo di Canio says Sunderland are safe thanks to him.

Di Canio replaced the sacked Martin O'Neill at the end of March with a seven-game mission to escape relegation.

And asked if the club would have gone down without him, he said: "I think yes. I have to be ­honest.

"Improvement: 1.3 points per game instead of one point per game.

"We would have finished in the top ten if we had played like that for the whole season.

"Eight points in six games and without our injured top ­scorer Steven Fletcher. In my opinion, six games ago this team was down.''