Sam Allardyce: Sunderland need six wins out of 13 to survive

Adam Johnson. Picture by FRANK REID
Adam Johnson. Picture by FRANK REID
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Sam Allardyce is targeting six wins from the final 13 games to keep Sunderland in the Premier League.

Sunderland kept their slim survival hopes alive by rescuing a point at Liverpool on Saturday with a dramatic late comeback, yet the Black Cats are still facing an uphill battle to remain in the top flight.

Allardyce’s men are four points adrift of the safety mark, with top-four contenders Manchester United next up at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

But if Sunderland are to stage a surge up the table during the home straight for the fourth season on the spin, then Allardyce believes they will need another six victories to be successful in their survival bid.

The Wearsiders have managed five in the first 25 matches this campaign.

Allardyce said: “13 games, six wins. They’ve done it before, haven’t they?

“They’re good at miraculous recoveries here – let’s hope we can do it again.

“We’ve still got an awful long way to go, but a point at Liverpool is very precious, particularly under the circumstances.

“If the lads can show that kind of spirit and never-say-die attitude, then we’ve got a good chance.

“If they can start playing more like they did against Man City, couple that with spirit and scoring goals, then we’ve got a good chance of getting out of trouble.

“Our games are running out.

“People will say draws aren’t good enough, but on Saturday it was.

“Nobody would have expected us to get a draw, but we did, so that’s a precious point.

“Hopefully, that will start leading to a victory very, very shortly because we need to start putting three-pointers on the board.”

Allardyce’s gameplan to soak up Liverpool’s pressure and try to nick a victory late on, looked to have backfired when the hosts netted two second half goals and were cruising to all three points.

But once substitute Adam Johnson halved the deficit from an 82nd-minute free-kick into the bottom corner, Sunderland sensed a comeback and snatched a point when Jermain Defoe netted his 10th Premier League goal of the campaign.

“The goal we scored gave us some belief when we looked out of it. It was a really good free-kick from Adam Johnson,” added Allardyce.

“It was the sort of quality which I expected more of from my team.

“The goal from Jermain Defoe shows that, if the rest of the team provide him with that kind of service, he’ll score more and more goals.

“He did it against Aston Villa and Swansea.

“That was the first time he’d put one in the net since then because we haven’t given him the same kind of service.

“His ability was brilliant with the quick turn and shot.

“He could be our saviour.

“It’s the lads the other way who have to stop giving away goals like we have.

“The two we conceded – especially the second one – were so avoidable.

“But it’s a great comeback – a great, great point, and a spirit in the team which I hope will stay with us until the end of the season.”