ADAM JOHNSON admits time is running out for Sunderland to save their Premier League status after suffering defeat in their crunch encounter against West Ham.
Sunderland are now facing the very real prospect of life in the Championship after a fifth loss in six league encounters last night left the Black Cats’ survival hopes hanging by a thread.
Gus Poyet’s side are four points adrift of safety ahead of successive meetings against top six outfits Spurs, Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea, and have still only secured two victories all season against any of their bottom half peers.
Winger Johnson, who sparked a rousing finale by netting his 10th of the season from the bench, is not giving hope on beating the drop.
But he concedes Sunderland need a dramatic reversal in their Stadium of Light fortunes.
He told the Echo: “We had some good chances, but we just can’t seem to score.
“It’s another game down. We keep saying ‘this is the game, this is the game’ but time is running out now.
“The games are running out and we’ve got some tough ones coming up. We have to capitalise on the games at home, which we haven’t done all season.
“We’ve got four home games left and I think if we win all four, we’ve got a chance. There’s still eight games and points to play for.
“We’ve just got to stick together and keep trying to do the right things.
“We can’t get cut adrift because it’s difficult then.
“Any of the games away from home against the top six are difficult, but we tend to perform better against those top teams.”
Sunderland found themselves two goals down after conceding twice from set pieces - taking the Black Cats’ tally to 15 shipped from deadball situations this season.
Following Johnson’s introduction from the bench, Sunderland were much-improved and had the chances to net a share of the spoils, yet again fell short in one of their ‘winnable’ games at the Stadium of Light.
“We go into these games knowing they’re going to be difficult, and maybe we just try too hard,” added Johnson.
“We should have definitely got something out of the game after the second half. But it wasn’t meant to be again. It’s the same old story, isn’t it?
“There were mistakes. We huffed and puffed and created chances, but I don’t know if we believed we were going to score.
“Everyone is down, but in the second half, we were definitely the better team.
“But you need to put those chances away.”