Sunderland have sacked manager Paolo Di Canio with immediate effect after a disastrous run of five Premier League matches with no wins.

A statement on the Sunderland club website read:

“Sunderland AFC confirms that it has parted company with head coach Paolo Di Canio this evening.

“Kevin Ball will take charge of the squad ahead of Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup game against Peterborough United and 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.”

Sunderland currently sit on the bottom of the Premier League table with zero wins from its first five matches. The only point Sunderland has picked up was from the 1-1 draw on August 24 against Southampton.

Di Canio joined the Black Cats in March 2013 after Martin O’Neill was sacked as manager. With the prospect that the club could get relegated given their run of form, Di Canio was able to turn the team around, winning 3-0 at St James Park and then confirming that the club avoided relegation with one match to play when Arsenal defeated Wigan.

According to press reports, the number one candidate to replace Di Canio is Roberto Di Matteo.

Di Canio’s departure from Sunderland is the first sacking of the season. It comes on the heels of a drastic 3-0 loss against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, which was followed by Di Canio walking over to the away section where he seemed to apologize to the Sunderland supporters.

Following Sunderland’s loss to West Brom, Di Canio had this to say about his players:

“The players need to release the rubbish from their brains. They have to have more confrontation, more anger with each other.

‘”hey need to look into each other’s eyes. They lost their belief after 20 minutes. They turned their faces away. They must try to discover their mentality.

“One result could be good medicine. One win and everything will become clear. As an honest, intelligent person, I know we have to quickly get out of this situation. Someone in 10th position can get sacked, but I am not worried about my job. But I am worried about the results.

Love him or hate him, we can’t forget Di Canio’s famous goal celebration after his team beat Newcastle in the Tyne-Wear derby earlier this year: