Jan Kirchhoff on why home form is key to Sunderland's survival hopes
It's bottom versus top tonight at the Stadium of Light with Sunderland looking to make the most of home advantage.
And Jan Kirchhoff believes it is crucial to make the stadium an intimidating venue for opposing teams.
The Black Cats beat Hull City and champions Leicester City at home during their recent run of three wins out of four.
But they came crashing back to earth with a bang with the 3-0 defeat away to relegation rivals Swansea City at the weekend.
Home form was key in last season’s successful battle against the drop.
Victories over Aston Villa, Manchester United, Chelsea and Everton in the second half of the campaign helped keep Sam Allardyce’s side up.
David Moyes now has back-to-back home wins under his belt ahead of tonight’s daunting clash with in-form title hopefuls Chelsea (kick-off 7.45pm).
Kirchhoff, who could be drafted back into the side in place for the suspended Didier Ndong, knows it is up to Sunderland to start the game positively.
“The big thing is to be confident,” said Kirchhoff.
“To build-up a winning mentality, especially here at home.
“It is necessary to have that feeling that every opposition team coming here to the Stadium of Light feels like Sunderland away won’t be a nice day.
“Our job is to get out there, get the fans behind us and go forward and try to win your home games.
“That is the main thing, how we stayed in the league last year.
“When we have our home form as a base then we have the chance to win a lot of games.
“The other thing is to build up self confidence. Be able to win away games as well.
“This should be our base to stick together, have a good mentality on the pitch and be able to win every home game.
“Go forward and get the points we need.”
Sunderland, bottom with 11 points from their opening 15 games, are two points adrift of safety heading into tonight’s game against table-topping Chelsea.