Sunderland have to win 50 per cent of their remaining games if they are to stay in the Premier League, believes Sam Allardyce.
Despite boasting a game in hand on fourth bottom Norwich, Sunderland are two points adrift of safety heading into their final eight fixtures after yesterday’s 1-1 draw in the Tyne-Wear derby kept the Black Cats confined to the relegation zone.
Sunderland’s performance levels have improved markedly since the January transfer window, but Allardyce’s side have only won one of their last seven, including draws in the last three outings.
The inability to preserve a lead has prevented Sunderland from moving away from danger and manager Allardyce says they now require four wins out of eight to beat the drop.
“I think the consolation for me is we have been in the position to win every game we have played recently, particularly when we scored first,” said Allardyce.
“We are doing most of the things right by taking control of the game, scoring the first goal, but just not managing to see it through into a victory.
“That is the final thing we have to try to change.
“We have to change it right now. We are now in a position of must-win.
“Draws are not going to be good enough now. We have to go and win four out of the last eight.”
Sunderland’s bid to claw their way out of trouble will be on ice during the next two weeks though due to the international break after the Black Cats had faced a fortnight’s pause prior to the derby.
When they return to action, Sunderland face back-to-back home games against Leicester and West Brom, which are likely to prove decisive.
Allardyce added: “We have another God-damn two weeks before we play again.
“It has been a long wait to play this one and now we have another God-damn two-week break for football associations to make money with stupid friendlies.
“We have to wait and then we have two home games.
“Those coming up are the ones that are really going to have the pressure on us, like we had yesterday.
“If we can handle the pressure like we did yesterday, which is massive pressure, then the way they performed and handled it was superb for most of the game.”