The Sunderland squad are being urged to avoid any last-day jitters and fulfil Sam Allardyce's "dream scenario" with a game to spare.
Sunderland host Everton at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday night knowing a win will relegate rivals Newcastle United and Norwich City ahead of the season finale at Watford.
He told the Echo: "I cast my mind back to when I played here and the last thing I want to happen is the same thing that happened to me.
"What did we have to do with two games to go? We only had to draw with Brighton to stay up.
"We lost in the last minute.
"We went from two games to go needing one point, to one game needing three points. Luckily, good old Stan Cummins scored the winner at Liverpool away.
"But we don’t want to put ourselves in that situation tomorrow."
Meanwhile, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp says Sunderland are now in the "driving seat" to stay up - with Defoe playing a huge role in the club's ongoing battle against the drop.
Redknapp said: "As the relegation battle started to heat up, I fancied Newcastle to survive. After an incredible swing it’s Sunderland who are now in the driving seat.
"I wouldn’t rule out one final twist in the tale but if there’s one team you would want to play right now with Premier League survival at stake, it’s got to be Everton.
"After the euphoria of the weekend, the Stadium of Light will be absolutely rocking on Wednesday night. And Jermain Defoe will be licking his lips.
"He might not win any big awards but you’d do well to find a player who has been more valuable to his side this season than Defoe.
"As soon as he took that touch in the box you just knew he would score. If he keeps them up he could be one of the most important players in the club’s history.
"For Sam Allardyce survival would be sweet, especially if it’s Rafa Benitez who ends up going down.
"His arrival at Newcastle certainly added extra spice to the relegation fight."
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Victory over Everton on Wednesday will see Sunderland preserve their Premier League status and relegate Newcastle and Norwich in the process.
Their North East rivals are 8/1 not to be relegated, while Norwich are 18/1 to avoid the trapdoor.
Bet365’s Steve Freeth "When Big Sam walked through the Sunderland door they were 1/4 for the drop and they were 1/10 after five consecutive defeats in December, but victory over Everton will see the Black Cats pull off another great escape."
Defoe, who has scored 15 Premier League goals this season, is 15/8 to outscore an out-of-sorts Romelu Lukaku in midweek.
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And finally, Sunderland defender Lamine Kone is fit for Wednesday night's potentially decisive Barclays Premier League clash with Everton.
Kone was replaced during the second half of Saturday's 3-2 victory over Chelsea for tactical reasons, with the defender also suffering from a thigh problem.
But he has recovered and is expected to be available as the Black Cats attempt to secure the win which will secure their top-flight status.
Full-back Billy Jones, who did not make the 18 at the weekend because of a hip injury, remains a doubt, but manager Sam Allardyce otherwise has a full squad from which to select.
Provisional squad: Mannone, Pickford, Van Aanholt, Yedlin, O'Shea, Jones, Kone, Kaboul, Brown, Kirchhoff, Cattermole, M'Vila, Khazri, Borini, Rodwell, Toivonen, Larsson, Lens, Defoe, N'Doye, Watmore.