Sam Allardyce says that Sunderland need to secure at least four points from the upcoming league matches against West Ham, Crystal Palace and Southampton if they want to have a chance of staying in the top flight.

Sunderland currently sit in 19th place in the Premier League table, just one point behind Norwich City in 17th position and Allardyce says that his side must get at least four points to stay in touch with their relegation rivals.

He told the Sunderland Echo:

It could be a very big week with three games in the week. If we win two out of the three, it would be magnificent. If we go undefeated, that would be fine – if it was win one, draw two. But, for me, we’ve got to get at least four points. We need more points than games because that means we catch up a little bit and there’ll only be nine games left after that.

Usually, Premier League managers complain that they have too many fixtures close together, but Allardyce thinks that the long breaks between games in the near future could work against his side.

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images Sport

The fixture with Everton has to be rearranged after the Toffees advanced in the FA Cup and if Arsenal can defeat Hull City in their replay, the tie with the Gunners may have to be rearranged as well and Big Sam thinks that the break can put more pressure on his side if they fall behind their rivals.

The unfortunate way the fixtures pan out mean Everton is no longer a fixture for us. That’s a problem because after that, there’s the international break and then, if Arsenal continue in the FA Cup, there’s another one which will need to be rearranged. That will disrupt us in terms of the flow of games. Instead of me complaining about them being too close together, they’re actually going to be too far apart and what do we do in those two-week periods when everybody else might be picking up points? We may have that to manage, so the lads need to get as many points as they can in this three games and try to relieve that pressure a little bit more.