Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has admitted that his side’s survival chances depend on Jermain Defoe’s form in front of goal.
The Black Cats, 1.53 to be relegated, are still 19th in the Premier League table but they are just one point away from safety after 26 games.
Allardyce’s men have not kept a clean sheet in their last 12 matches and the former Newcastle boss admits they need to improve that stat to enhance their chances of staying up.
The 61-year-old is confident that Defoe will prove the difference come the end of the season, with the former England international proving his class so far.
Defoe is the third-highest scoring Englishman behind Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane and he has been backed to deliver by Allardyce.
He told the Sunderland Echo: “As long as the other lads do their jobs for him and keep clean sheets, he’s going to be our man that wins a lot of games for us.
“We want the [goals] in one’s, rather than two in one and three in another, if possible. We want them nicely spread out if we can. That way, he gets us a goal to give us a win.
“There’s not too often between now and the end of the season, that two or more goals are going to come from us, let’s face it. That’s been pretty difficult to come by this season. The 1-0 wins are going to be the important side of our game now.”