Paolo Di Canio has warned Sunderland they will never be anything other than "average" as long as they are happy for other clubs to do their dirty work.
The Black Cats and their fellow strugglers were handed a significant survival boost on Tuesday evening when 18th-placed Wigan twice squandered the lead to lose 3-2 at home to Swansea, meaning three points this weekend would guarantee them their top-flight status barring a remarkable turn-around as a result of their superior goal difference.
However, Di Canio was dismayed when he arrived at the training ground on Wednesday at the general glee over the previous night's events at the DW Stadium, saying: "I was angry because I don't like what is going on in this environment."
He added: "I don't enjoy it and I will make sure in the future everybody has to change their mentality, not the players and the technical staff, the physios, the fitness coach, the refectory where they go for food, the directors. Everybody has to change mentality because if we are going always to delegate to others to do the job for us, we are going to remain an average team despite the fantastic potential the club has.
"We have to make sure we change that mentality. It wasn't enjoyable because too many people were talking about Wigan, Wigan, Wigan.
"We have to win our game, we must win our game, that has to be the message. In the future, I want to make sure that we have a different approach in these kind of situations because this club has the potential to be a top-10 club every season."
Sunderland had hoped to have been safe long before now having travelled to Aston Villa with high hopes of victory only to lose 6-1, and then having had to stage a concerted fightback to salvage a 1-1 home draw with Stoke following Craig Gardner's dismissal for a foul on Charlie Adam.
The Saints too remain uncomfortably close to the drop zone, although Di Canio believes that could work in his side's favour.
He said: "It's probably better that we are playing against Southampton in this situation. I have said to my players, it's better we have this tough challenge instead of a team already safe in mid-table."
Di Canio also spoke of his sadness that Sir Alex Ferguson is retiring from management, but said it was an "amazing moment" when he discovered that one of the current United boss' biggest regrets was not signing him.