Santiago Vergini: Four games to make Sunderland safe from Premier League drop

Santiago Vergini
Santiago Vergini
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SANTIAGO Vergini says Sunderland have four games to secure their Premier League existence after the gap with the relegation zone again dropped to a solitary point.

Leicester’s third-win-in-a-row on Saturday eroded Sunderland’s breathing space with the bottom three, with just one point now lying between the Black Cats and the rejuvenated third-bottom Foxes – now behind fellow strugglers Hull on goal difference alone.

In an ideal situation though, we would go into those last two games not needing to get a result

Santiago Vergini

Like Leicester and Hull, Sunderland have six Premier League outings remaining this season, yet Dick Advocaat’s side face daunting trips to the top two, Arsenal and Chelsea, in the last week of the season.

On-loan defender Vergini was part of the Sunderland side which took seven points from trips to Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United during the remarkable final seven games last season.

But Vergini knows Sunderland cannot count upon lightning striking twice and says the Wearsiders need to pick up sufficient points over the next four games – this Saturday’s trip to Stoke, followed by clashes against Southampton, Everton and Leicester.

Vergini told the Echo: “In an ideal world, we would win the next three or four games and then we could enjoy the rest of the season. But all of the games will be difficult and we will have to work extremely hard to get any result.

“In an ideal situation though, we would go into those last two games not needing to get a result.”

Vergini, along with central defensive partner John O’Shea, was culpable in Sunderland’s last Premier League outing against Crystal Palace nine days ago after the Black Cats capitulated and conceded four times in a shambolic 14-minute spell.

But with fellow centre-half Wes Brown expected to miss the bulk – if not all – of the remainder of the season, head coach Advocaat has few options to tinker with his defence for this weekend’s clash at the Britannia Stadium.

However, Vergini – who has played much of this season as a makeshift right-back – insists he is happy to fill in wherever needed to keep Sunderland up.

“It’s true that (centre-back) is my natural position and centre-back is where I feel most comfortable,” added the Argentine international.

“But I am always available to the management team and also my team-mates to help them out and play wherever I am needed.”