Jan Kirchhoff believes two more wins will be sufficient for Sunderland to beat the drop, with in-form rivals Newcastle United needing a “wonder” to take maximum points from their run-in.
Sunderland’s waver-thin advantage in the survival battle leaves all three of the sides vying to avoid relegation trying to calculate how many points are required to stay in the Premier League and where they will come from.
With Sunderland only above Norwich on goal difference and Newcastle by a solitary point, midfielder Kirchhoff insists Sam Allardyce’s side have to target as many wins as possible.
But the ex-Bayern Munich man’s gut reaction is that two wins from the final four games would be sufficient for Sunderland, which would leave resurgent Newcastle – who have played one extra match than both sides above them – needing to win all three of their remaining outings.
Kirchhoff said: “I think we need to win two of the last four games.
“Newcastle have got three games left and it would be a wonder if they won all three of them.
“If we can get six points out of the last four games, we should be fine.
“But you never know, so we go into every game looking to win, so we can get the points as fast as we can.
“Every game is like a final. We have to get the points to get out of trouble.
“But it’s up to the other teams to step out of the relegation zone now.
“We just have to hold our position and not even look at them.
“I’m really comfortable and I think the whole team’s comfortable about staying in the league.
“We’re bringing good performances every weekend and that’s what we have to do.
“I think we’re good enough to stay in the league and manage this situation.”
Kirchhoff’s confidence that Sunderland will be successful in their survival quest is mirrored throughout the Black Cats dressing room, ahead of this weekend’s trip to Stoke City.
Stoke have shipped 12 goals in three hefty back-to-back defeats and while Kirchhoff has been made aware of the tough surroundings of the Britannia Stadium, he does believe it’s a ‘winnable’ game for Allardyce’s men.
“The other players have told me about the wind in the stadium and that it’s a rough place to play football,” added the £750,000 January capture.
“They’ve got a lot of German players, and their front three have got a lot of quality.
“But they’ve lost their last two games 4-0 and I feel as if we can beat any team at the moment.
“We’ve been really strong for the last six games.
“We’re bringing really good performances to the pitch.”