SEB LARSSON hopes Sunderland’s Villa Park thrashing proves to be a “kick up the backside” after sifting through the video horror show of the 6-1 rout.
Paolo Di Canio immediately put his players through the chastening experience of analysing the footage of Monday night’s humiliation at relegation rivals Aston Villa after they returned to training on Tuesday.
Di Canio had done the same following his previous three games in charge of the Black Cats, yet there was a very different tone from the head coach after Sunderland’s heaviest defeat in more than three years.
Midfielder Larsson admits watching the replay was a painful experience, but says Di Canio has made it abundantly clear what Sunderland must put right in Monday’s visit of Stoke City.
“We got a right kick up the backside and there will be a real determination and hunger to put that right on Monday,” said Larsson.
“We’ve watched the Villa game back and gone through it.
“It was painful to watch, but I think it needed to be after a performance like that.
“You’ve got to be really honest and tough towards yourself and as a team, because that second half was nowhere near what we’d produced in the weeks before.
“Once you set your standards and drop below them, it’s not good enough.
“Since the manager came in, we’ve gone through all the games very thoroughly.
“But obviously there was a lot more negatives out of this one and it’s not a nice feeling to sit and watch it.
“It hurts enough as it is, but you have to do it and let it hurt. You don’t want to repeat that feeling.
“We’ve gone through it, spoken about it and we’re very clear on what we have to do. But, as I’ve said before, it’s one thing talking about it and another actually doing it.”
Larsson admits Sunderland were taken aback by the manner of the defeat against their fellow strugglers, who now lie level on points with Di Canio’s side, albeit with an inferior goal difference.
But the Swedish international says it should sharpen Sunderland’s focus for Monday’s encounter with Stoke, when a victory would take the Wearsiders to the theoretical safety of the 40-point mark.
Larsson added: “We gave away some very sloppy goals to say the least.
“We had 45 minutes where not only did we underperform massively, but the goals we conceded were ones you don’t concede very often.
“It was a very bad spell, but, in a way, it might be a good thing for us.
“If you lose 2-1, you can still go away and say it was a decent performance.
“It’s an understatement to say it was a massive disappointment.
“It’s not what we expected or what we should have produced.
“But it’s a wake-up call after two-and-a-half very good performances previous to that.
“We obviously have to look at ourselves and realise that it’s not job done and we’ve got to do it on Monday.”