JORDI Gomez insists the fight for Premier League survival remains wide open, despite Sunderland’s daunting end-of-season run-in.
Third bottom Sunderland are one of five teams separated by just two points battling to avoid the last relegation spot, with Burnley and QPR now realistically consigned to the Championship after being cast adrift at the foot of the table.
Despite Saturday’s win over Southampton, Sunderland remain the bookies’ favourites to occupy the final place in the relegation zone, even though they have a game in hand on the four sides above them and are just one point from safety.
Sunderland face by far the toughest finale to the campaign on paper, with Dick Advocaat’s men travelling to Everton, Arsenal and Chelsea, along with a potential Stadium of Light survival showdown against Leicester.
But with free-falling Newcastle now joining a concertinaed cluster of clubs hovering above the drop zone, Sunderland midfielder Gomez believes the relegation scrap is too close to call.
The Spaniard said: “Anything can happen with these five teams so close together.
“There’s another team in there now with Newcastle and you want as many teams as possible in there who are fighting to stay in the league.
“We’re going into every game to pick up points and hopefully we can do that again at Everton on Saturday.
“Everyone keeps going, so you don’t know how many your points you’ll need.
“We just need to concentrate on ourselves, try to get as many points as we can and then we’ll see afterwards.”
Sunderland have now taken four points from their last two games, albeit the Black Cats remain without back-to-back league wins this season.
Yet Advocaat’s side continue to linger uncomfortably in the relegation zone, with all bar Newcastle above them also putting points on the board when it matters.
That made Sunderland’s win over Southampton all the more important, with the Wearsiders’ fate still technically in their own hands due to the game in hand.
“We knew we needed the three points against Southampton, we got them and obviously we are very happy with them,” added Gomez, whose two penalties secured victory against the Saints.
“After the results elsewhere, I think it was a massive win for us. We’re still in the fight.
“The first thing was to get the three points against Southampton, and we got them, and now we’re ready to keep fighting.
“We know we need to give everything we have.”