Sam Allardyce is mapping out a route to survival, so Sunderland’s players know precisely what it will take to beat the drop with room to spare.
Sunderland have taken three points from three games under Allardyce’s stewardship to move off the basement, yet the Black Cats remain the firm favourites with the bookmakers to suffer the drop, despite being only two points adrift of fourth bottom Bournemouth.
I’m in the middle of doing a presentation for the lads on how to get to a safe position in the league and what it’ll take to get there.
In a bid to turn around Sunderland’s fortunes, Allardyce has already injected elements of sports science and video analysis into his side’s preparations, which have been a hallmark of the 61-year-old’s success in his managerial career.
And he is in the middle of preparing a blueprint over where Sunderland will need to pick up points, and how many they will need, if they are not only to secure Premier League survival, but also do so by a comfortable margin.
Allardyce told the Echo: “I haven’t done a points target, in terms of what the total is that we’ll need.
“But I’m in the middle of doing a presentation for the lads on how to get to a safe position in the league and what it’ll take to get there.
“It’s a far bigger demand than just finishing fourth bottom.
“We’ll do that as soon as we can get it sorted out, but probably after the international break.”
Allardyce’s hopes of using the Wear-Tyne derby success as a springboard for Sunderland’s revival were scuppered by their shambolic defending in Sunday’s 6-2 rout at Everton.
Despite that setback, Allardyce believes the next five games - Southampton, Crystal Palace, Stoke, Arsenal and Watford - are pivotal towards Sunderland’s hopes of beating the drop.
When he took charge at the Stadium of Light a month ago, Allardyce had set the target of having at least double figures on the board after his opening eight games at the helm, leaving Sunderland requiring a modest four points from the next five outings.
“We broke down the first eight games,” added Allardyce.
“From our point of view, we’ve played three games and got three points, and got five games to go.
“At the end of that five games, we have to have better than double figures.
“That’s what I’m looking for.”