GUS POYET believes there is “no chance” Sunderland will need the magical 40-point tally to beat the drop.
A return of just a solitary point from their last six Premier League encounters has seen Sunderland’s hopes of remaining in the top flight nose-dive and their situation could look even more grave after today’s results, with all of their principal relegation rivals in action.
But despite boasting just 25 points from their 30 league outings, Poyet says a mere three wins from the remaining eight games may be sufficient for the Black Cats to stage what seems an increasingly unlikely escape act.
While 40 points is traditionally seen as the benchmark for safety, 37 has been sufficient to avoid the drop in each of the last two seasons.
And with drop rivals Fulham, Cardiff and West Brom all struggling to put consistent results together, head coach Poyet says Sunderland could be safe with a tally as low as 35.
Poyet told the Echo: “There is no chance you will need 40, it will be much less.
“Why? The three teams that go down might not even make 34.
“Now, that doesn’t mean we will definitely be safe if we get to 35 points.
“But they might not get the points to go past us if we can get there.
“I always thought it would need four wins to stay up.
“But nobody can see any of the bottom four or five winning three more games now.
“Maybe three wins and a draw? It depends on who those wins are against and it’s not difficult to work out what I mean by that (Sunderland face Cardiff and West Brom in two of their last four games).”
Neither does Poyet envisage the relegated sides stemming from outside the bottom four at the start of play today - Fulham, Sunderland, Cardiff and West Brom.
While the likes of Crystal Palace, Hull and Norwich - who face Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in their last four games - still have lingering relegation fears, Poyet believes they already have too many points on the board.
“Of course, there could be an extra one like Palace and Norwich because of the games Norwich have got left,” he added.
“This weekend in particular for them is a key game.
“But if everything goes normal, I would say that three of the current bottom four will go down.
“I would be very surprised if it was somebody else. It would be a shock.
“They would have to have a terrible run.”