Paolo Di Canio

Sunderland have sacked manager Paolo Di Canio after a disastrous start to their Premier League campaign, culminating in a 3-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion in their last fixture.

The Black Cats have managed a point from their first five league games, which came from a 1-1 draw to Southampton away from home. Sunderland sit at the bottom of the Premier League table and are two points behind 19th-place Crystal Palace.

Kevin Ball will take over as caretaker manager and will be in charge for the Capital One Cup tie against Peterborough United on Tuesday evening.

"Sunderland AFC confirms that it has parted company with head coach Paolo Di Canio this evening. The club would like to place on record its thanks to Paolo and his staff and wishes them well for the future," read a statement on the club's official website.

"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 statement added.

Former Swindon Town manager Di Canio replaced Martin O'Neill in March, and his arrival brought an improvement in results which helped Sunderland avoid relegation. The Italian then completely revamped the Black Cats squad, with 14 new players arriving on Wearside.

Former Premier League star Robbie Savage believes the Italian should have been given more time to try and arrest his side's poor form.

"I think Sunderland should have least give Di Canio until Newcastle at home to see if he could turn it around. It was wearing thin though apologies to fans after games, it seemed to be all about him and not the team bit harsh though," Savage explained.

"Lots of players in, one point in five games is not good enough this season at this stage but kept them up last year when they seemed down," he stressed.