Jermain Defoe admits it’s going to be a long two weeks until Sunderland return to Premier League action after a last-gasp sickener at Southampton.
Sunderland could be back in the bottom three by the time they resume their survival bid in the Tyne-Wear derby in a fortnight after blowing the chance to create a three-point buffer with fellow strugglers Newcastle and Norwich City.
A stoppage time equaliser from Virgil van Dijk left Sunderland leaving Southampton with only a solitary point, rather than a victory, with the Black Cats unable to improve their situation next weekend after their scheduled clash with Everton was postponed due to the FA Cup sixth round.
By contrast, Norwich and Newcastle are in action against Manchester City and Leicester City respectively - leaving Sunderland to play a frustrated waiting game.
Sunderland goalscorer Defoe said: “We’ve got a long wait until the next game. When you’re in this position, you want the games to come thick and fast.
“But we’ve got to keep positive, keep it going and try to get some wins before now and the end of the season.
“At the end of the day, we got the point.
“The manager always says that if you can’t win, then don’t lose.
“But it’s the way the game went. We should have got all three.”
Defoe looked to have secured a late victory for Sunderland on the south coast when he came off the bench and broke the deadlock with five minutes to go against the 10-man Saints.
But Sunderland were unable to hold onto the advantage and record a first clean sheet since November after van Dijk netted a leveller with 90 seconds to go.
“It would have been a massive three points, so you can imagine how disappointed everyone was,” added Defoe after his 11th goal of the season.
“When they got the man sent off, I knew there was going to be space and I was just waiting for that one chance.
“(Lamine) Kone cut it back to me and all I had to do was finish.
“I thought we would have seen it out, but it wasn’t meant to be.
“You score the goal and you just have to hang on - be professional.
“It can’t be pretty, but you have to see the game out. We’re devastated.”