Sam Allardyce admits it is likely to be curtains for Sunderland if they suffer back-to-back defeats at Norwich City in next weekend’s relegation decider.
All three of the sides battling to avoid joining Aston Villa in the Championship next season suffered defeats over the weekend after Sunderland were unable to reduce the four-point gap with fourth bottom Norwich following a 2-0 defeat to Leicester.
Next Saturday lunchtime’s trip to Carrow Road has looked a pivotal encounter in the drop battle for several weeks, but with Sunderland picking up just four points from their last six games, it now looks to be the Black Cats’ best hope of remaining in the Premier League.
And although Sunderland still have a game in hand on the Canaries, Allardyce knows the consequences if the visitors come away empty-handed from Carrow Road.
“Don’t lose at Norwich. Don’t lose,” he said.
“The flickers of hope are there. Hopefully, we can achieve the performances, and the opportunities to win, that we saw against West Brom, Newcastle and Southampton in the last six games.
“That’s the hope that’s still there for us.
“They (Norwich) will be seven points clear of us if we lose.
“With five games to go, it still wouldn’t be mathematically certain but it starts heaping too much pressure on you.
“We have to try to win, but make sure we don’t lose. Don’t forget, we’ve still got a game in hand.
“Norwich was always going to be big. There would be less pressure if we had won (against Leicester) but it was always going to be difficult to win.
“We are under extreme pressure that we have to make sure we handle.”