Sunderland can avoid drop by repeating Newcastle display, says Defoe

The two sides drew 1-1 at St James' Park on Sunday.

Sunderland will avoid relegation from the Premier League this season if they can repeat their performance against Newcastle United, Jermain Defoe has told the Sunderland Echo.

The two sides met at St James' Park on Sunday in desperate need of securing all three points in their attempts to pull away from the relegation zone.

Instead they had to share the points as Aleksandar Mitrovic’s late header cancelled out Defoe’s opener.

It was a disappointing result for both sides, but Defoe insists that Sunderland will avoid relegation if they can replicate the display they put in against their rivals.

"We'll keep it going,” he told the Sunderland Echo.

“We've got some massive games coming up, but if we play like that, we'll be fine.

"We always knew the second half was going to be difficult. They had to come out and push to create chances. It's just disappointing to concede a late goal again, as we needed three points."

If Sunderland are to avoid the drop between now and the end of the season, Defoe is surely going to be key to their hopes of doing so.

While the rest of the relegation candidates have struggled to find a regular goal-scorer he has 12 goals to his name, more than Chelsea’s Diego Costa.

His strike against the Magpies was the latest of those goals in what has been an impressive individual campaign despite his side's struggles.

And Sunderland will be hoping that he can score several more big goals between now and the end of the season to aid their struggle against the drop.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch