The People says the fiery Italian remarkably showed his anger at the team's display against West Brom with his party trick before a furious verbal assault on his flops.
Di Canio took a drink of water, sprayed it upwards, let it fall on his face and rubbed it in. He did this a few times in front of his shocked men.
Then the Black Cats' under-pressure boss told his team "that is what you have done to me, spat in my face" before telling them to do it to themselves.
This prompted a war of words, with some players saying that is exactly what he has been doing to them with his insults.
One player said they would have shown more spirit for a manager they respected rather one who criticised them in public.
The rage between Di Canio and his disenchanted side went on - and continued the next day at the training ground.
The Italian was sacked the same day.
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