Sunderland midfielder Jan Kirchhoff has urged his team-mates to keep the faith after suffering another late blow against Newcastle.
The Black Cats came within seven minutes of a seventh successive derby victory over Newcastle at St James’ Park on Sunday, a result which would have lifted them out of the Premier League drop zone, albeit only on goal difference.
However, Aleksandar Mitrovic’s late equaliser, which cancelled out Jermain Defoe’s 44th-minute opener, denied them two extra points for the second time in as many games and left them in great peril once again.
Manager Sam Allardyce could not disguise his frustration after watching his side dominate the first half, but January signing Kirchhoff is convinced Sunderland will get themselves out of trouble if they continue to play as they have in recent weeks.
The 25-year-old German said: “We are still above Newcastle, we are still in a position to stay in the league. We are two points behind Norwich, who have one game fewer, so it’s all in our own hands.
“We can stay in this mentality, to be sharp, to be focused and believe in winning our games. That’s how we can go on.
“I am really comfortable and I have the feeling we can stay in the league and are good enough to stay in the league.”