The 45-year-old Italian dismissed the Black Cats as “weak” as a club and some of its players as “cowards”, and was particularly critical of skipper John O’Shea and two players he discarded, Phil Bardsley and Lee Cattermole.
However, the Wearsiders, who have seen Di Canio’s successor Gus Poyet guide them closer to Premier League safety and into the Capital One Cup final and the fifth round of the FA Cup since he took over in October, hit back in a statement yesterday.
The statement said: “Sunderland AFC would like to express its disappointment in relation to the disparaging comments made recently by Paolo Di Canio regarding the club and its players.
“The club is immensely proud of its players for the dignified and restrained manner in which they have conducted themselves publicly since Mr Di Canio’s departure, and it is particularly disappointing to read such comments when there are legal obligations in place to ensure such behaviour does not occur.
“The club is now considering its position with its legal representatives.
“Having reached a cup final for the first time in 22 years, whilst also enjoying a run of only one loss in 12 games, we want to focus on what is a positive time for the football club and we would hope it is possible to draw a line under this matter quickly and that there will be no repetition.
“Neither the club, head coach Gus Poyet nor the players will be making any further comment on the situation.
“We are looking forward, not back and are focusing on the vital games we have ahead of us.”