Sunderland, Newcastle United, Norwich City and Swansea City are all in the relegation mix.
Sunderland’s John O’Shea says survival is ultimately in their own hands as the defender admits to concentrating on his side’s performances rather than looking elsewhere, the Shields Gazette reports.
The Black Cats are in a relegation scrap along with North East rivals Newcastle United, newly-promoted Norwich City and Welsh side Swansea City as Aston Villa look doomed at the foot of the table.
It’s a case of two from four heading in to the final 12 matches, and it’s easy to start getting hung up on results elsewhere as fans of the aforementioned now know who their direct rivals are.
O’Shea, however, says Sunderland are only focussed on themselves as they seek positive results.
“Ultimately, it’s down to ourselves. With a win you put more pressure on the other teams, but if they get a win. It’s down to us ultimately,” the Republic of Ireland international explained.
Sunderland’s chances of survival were significantly boosted last weekend as they defeated Manchester United 2-1 while results elsewhere went in their favour.
Norwich’s desperate form of late has allowed the Black Cats and Newcastle to close the gap on the Canaries to just one point, and Sam Allardyce’s men will now fancy their chances.
That said, Sunderland still have to go to Newcastle and Norwich in games which could prove critical come the end of the season yet their form under Allardyce should give them hope of getting a result.
Next weekend sees the Wearside club face West Ham United in East London, Norwich travel to Leicester City while Newcastle have a free weekend due to Manchester City’s League Cup final showdown.