NEDUM Onuoha will continue to ignore the results of the bottom three as long as Sunderland remain in charge of their own destiny.
Sunderland have been fortunate to maintain some breathing space with the drop zone since last adding to their points tally in March’s draw at Arsenal.
Bottom five clubs Wolves, West Ham, Blackpool. Wigan and Blackburn have managed just three wins between them during four successive losses for Steve Bruce’s side.
But Onuoha insists he is not concerned by the fortunes of those lying below Sunderland – preferring instead to concentrate on finally securing the victory which would virtually ensure Premier League survival.
Onuoha told the Echo: “Personally, I’m not looking at what the bottom three do, because it’s in our hands.
“We have to win as many games as we can between now and the end of the season.
“If much later on, we’re still in and about it, then you can’t start worrying about everyone else.”
Sunderland have a golden opportunity to end their four-month wait for victory with successive home games against fourth bottom Wigan and a Fulham side who have won just once away from Craven Cottage all season.
But the pressure will be on the Black Cats at the Stadium of Light after a dramatic slump in their fortunes on their own turf.
Sunderland were undefeated on Wearside until going down to Blackpool on December 28 – a loss which sparked a run of five home losses out of seven, including each of the last four encounters.
Onuoha, set to continue alongside Michael Turner in central defence, accepts there is mounting attention on Sunderland due to their dramatic slump, but is confident Bruce’s players can handle the expectations.
The on-loan Manchester City defender added: “From the very first game of the season, there’s pressure in every game. Most people will say there’s more pressure now but as a group of players we’re capable of handling anything from the outside.
“People will be talking about us and we won’t be able to shy away from that. But they won’t be talking about it once we can get that first win.
“There’s a lot of pressure but you have to stand up to that and keep going until the end.
“It’ll almost become a quiz question with the way our home form has changed since Christmas.
“When a team comes here they’ll know that.
“But being away or at home, you still have to win games.”