Sunderland boss Paolo di Canio says his players were POISONED going into their thrashing at Aston Villa.

Di Canio believes the euphoria from back-to-back wins against Newcastle United and Everton had gone to his players' heads.

He said: "We saw at Newcastle it could've been a poison. Two wins in a row was very bad, bad, bad poison for us by the way we approached the next game. We can lose or draw but not get humiliated like that. If we take the best from the humiliation it was worth it to pay the price in this way, even if I don't like it. If we lost 2-1 with the same kind of performance people might think it was an accident. In some way it's done, it hurt, but we're focused for next game which is important.

"After Everton we relaxed. We felt safe. There was three days party [after Newcastle], I couldn't go 300 yards to cut my hair. There's a tradition in Naples [if you win the derby] they all come out, it's for you, your family. I couldn't go in to town. I went 300 yards, 20 people were around me. This is four days after what happened, they pass word to each other. I couldn't imagine the passion. I can imagine players around town. They feel big. We have to make sure for future we don't get poisoned."