Former Newcastle star backs bitter rivals Sunderland to stay up thanks to this man

St James Park

A former Newcastle United star has backed arch rivals Sunderland to stay up this season after the relegation battle exploded into life at the weekend.

Both the Black Cats and the Magpies won 3-0 on Saturday to reduce the gap to Norwich City in the safety of 17th place to one point and three points respectively.

Sunderland ran out comfortable winners over the Canaries in a relegation six-pointer which also did bitter rivals Newcastle a huge favour too after their own win over Swansea City by the same scoreline.

Realistically it is three into two from Norwich, Sunderland and Newcastle to fill the last two relegation spots after Aston Villa's fate was finally sealed at the weekend in a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United.

'The Jermain Defoe effect'

And somewhat controversially former Newcastle star Jermaine Jenas has backed Sunderland to beat the drop, insisting one of his former teammates will make all the difference.

"I think the Jermain Defoe effect will keep Sunderland up," Jenas told BBC's Match of the Day.

"Jermain is making the runs.

"Jermain was very clever all day (against Norwich), getting himself between defenders, they were unable to mark him.

"Any time Jermain Defoe finds himself in and around the box he's a danger."

Controversial or refreshingly objective?

Jenas speaks from first hand experience having played alongside Defoe for the best part of seven years at Tottenham Hotspur and for England.

If nothing else Jenas' comments prove he is objective with his views in his new role as a pundit since retiring.

But they may still come as something of a shock given the fact he spent three years at St James Park and played 110 times for the Magpies scoring nine goals.

It's not the first controversial comments Jenas has made regarding his old club, though.

He famously compared living in Newcastle to being in a 'goldfish bowl' after pushing for a move to Tottenham back in 2005, as reported by the BBC at the time.

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