Barrett: Gills hungry for title
Craig Gardner believes Paolo Di Canio has become a Sunderland legend in the wake of their stunning Tyne-Wear derby win over Newcastle.
Sunderland secured their biggest win over the bitter rivals in 34 years with a 3-0 victory at St James' Park on Sunday to boost their Premier League survival hopes.
Gardner, who missed the game through suspension, has been impressed by the impact of Di Canio since his replaced Martin O'Neill at the Stadium of Light.
"Obviously when a new manager comes in everybody wants to impress, everybody raises their work-rate and everything really," Gardner told Sky Sports News.
"He has done a log of tactical work on the training field. He's become a legend overnight we have won the derby and the fans love him, the players love him and hopefully we have some good times ahead now."
Gardner watched the game with the Sunderland fans in the away end at St James' Park and the midfielder admits it was a brilliant day for everyone connected with the club.
"Being up there with the fans and singing with the fans soaking up that atmosphere and walking down to the changing room and soaking up that atmosphere I was buzzing from being up with the fans and then you are buzzing when being with the players," added Gardner.
"It was a brilliant day for not only me, but everybody at Sunderland football club."
The Gills made sure of a top-three finish last weekend and could have clinched the League Two trophy with a draw at promotion-chasing Cheltenham on Saturday, only to fall to a 1-0 defeat which ended the Kent club's 14-match unbeaten run on the road.
They face AFC Wimbledon at Priestfield this weekend before a final-day trip to Burton - needing just a solitary point to finally seal top spot.
Barrett told the club's official website: "We are disappointed of course because a draw would have clinched the title for us, but we now dust ourselves off and it will be nice to do it at home against Wimbledon and we will be fully prepared for that one.
"We want to win the title and we are disappointed, we had a fantastic turnout (1,449 travelling fans at Whaddon Road) but we are not resting on our laurels. We have done the main part and got promotion but there is a lot of ambition out there and a lot of hunger and you don't get an opportunity like this coming around very often.
"Some people never get it in their careers and we need to make sure we prepare properly, which we will do and the gaffer will make sure we are bang on it and we come in and train hard."