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Defoe optimistic, Allardyce realistic on Sunderland’s survival hopes

The Premier League Download lists a few teams that should avoid a relegation battle and a few who might be in trouble.

Sunderland blew a late lead against Southampton this weekend, conceding deep into stoppage time as the Black Cats settled for a 1-1 draw at St. Mary’s.

While the result did pull Sunderland out of the bottom three, it will be looked on as a missed opportunity as the draw puts the club just one point above the drop.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Jermain Defoe scored Sunderland’s only goal in the draw at Southampton, and he will need to continue his scoring ways if the club has any chance of staying up. The 33-year-old striker has 11 goals on the season, with seven of those coming in 2016. Defoe was part of the Sunderland team that barely survived last campaign, and is confident they can do it again.

There’s no point dwelling on the negatives, you’ve got to be positive and continue to keep going, and just have that mentality from now until the end of the season.

Personally I think we will be fine. I believe from now until the end of the season we will win a few games because of the way we’re playing and the players we’ve got. Sometimes you need a little bit of luck. It happened last season towards the end and we stayed up.

While Defoe is looking at the glass half-full, his manager Sam Allardyce was more cautious with his outlook.

Don’t keep saying we’re out the bottom three - it’s not enough points. We’ve got to accept that we’re still one of the favourites to get relegated.

There’s no game [for Sunderland] next week which means nobody could have caught us up if they win - now they could go past us and that puts extra pressure on us.

Big Sam’s men will have two weeks off until their next match, the Tyne-Wear derby against rivals Newcastle. Not only is the local derby always one of the most heated games of the season, but it carries added weight this time around as Newcastle currently sit in the relegation zone one point behind Sunderland.

[ MORE: Pochettino not worried about fatigue down the stretch at Spurs ]

Luckily for Big Sam, Sunderland has dominated the derby as of late, riding a record six-match winning streak over Newcastle, including a 3-0 victory earlier this season.