Sunderland sack manager Paolo Di Canio

Written by Phillipa Hopwood: Paolo Di Canio has become first managerial casualty of the 2013/14 Premier League season, just five games in.

Yesterday’s 3-0 loss to West Brom leaves Sunderland bottom of the table two points adrift of safety with just one point from five games.

The 45-year-old has won just 13 games since being appointed manager of The Black Cats back in March. The Italian succeeded Martin O’Neill on 31 March but later admitted he feared the sack from the start due to the controversy over his arrival.

Di Canio was a questionable replacement for O’Neill with few people questioning if he had what it takes to succeed at the highest level after he repeatedly criticised his players in pubic and was well known for his training ground rules.

But it is thought that the final straw came when he laid into his players at the training ground yesterday, but was stunned when a few of his senior players thought to have been led by Lee Cattermole, blamed him for the defeat.

The official club statement reads: “An announcement will be made in due course regarding a permanent successor,”

“The club would like to place on record its thanks to Paolo and his staff and wishes them well for the future.”

Coach Kevin Ball will take control of the first team squad for the immediate future and his first test will come on Tuesday night when Sunderland welcome Peterborough United in the Third Round of the Capital One Cup.

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