“We are not going to lie down and give up. We are going to battle on,”
said Sweden international. “We will keep battling away and making sure we get the points we need to stay up, and then we need to start afresh and really have a think about things in the summer.”
The Black Cats now lie just a point outside the relegation zone, but it was the nature of their capitulation that has left head coach Gus Poyet under intense pressure.
Villa, who had scored only four Barclays Premier League goals on the road all season, doubled their tally inside 44 remarkable minutes, and but for a glaring miss by Scott Sinclair, could have led 5-0 at the break.
However, doubles from Benteke and Agbonlahor gave them a commanding lead they never looked like losing.
Sunderland were significantly better after the break, but without causing Villa keeper Brad Guzan any difficulty and Poyet, was confronted by angry supporters close to his dug-out, as many locals among a crowd of 45,746 – the biggest of the season at the Stadium of Light – voted with their feet and left long before the final whistle.
SUNDERLAND: Pantilimon, Réveillere, O’Shea, Brown, van Aanholt, Bridcutt, Álvarez (Wickham 45), Larsson, Rodwell, Fletcher (Graham 83), Defoe.
Subs not used: Jones, Jordi Gómez, Coates, Mannone, Vergini.
ASTON VILLA:Guzan, Bacuna, Okore, Clark (Sánchez 64), Lowton, N’Zogbia (Weimann 79), Delph, Cleverley, Sinclair, Agbonlahor, Benteke (Hepburn-Murphy 83)
Sub not usedWestwood, Gil, Kinsella, Given
Ref: Neil Swarbrick