(Reuters) – Sunderland are running out of time to save their season and the struggling team need to start winning games over the next weeks if they are to escape relegation, midfielder Jan Kirchhoff has said.
Sunderland are bottom of the table with 11 matches to play, and Kirchhoff added that the team’s next few games would be crucial in their fight for survival, starting with the visit of 12th-placed Burnley on March 18.
“Burnley is a massive game,” the 26-year old told British media. “I feel like all the games coming up are massive games, but that is nothing new – we really need to start picking up points.
“It has been the same all season so nothing really has changed, just the pressure has got bigger and bigger because the opportunities to get the points we need are getting fewer and fewer.”
The Burnley match kicks off a run of three games against teams in the bottom half of the table, with Sunderland then traveling to 13th-placed Watford and defending champions Leicester City, who are 15th.
“We have to try and win our home games and try to beat the teams we are able to … the upcoming games against Burnley, Watford and Leicester are three games where we have to try to get as many points as we can,” Kirchhoff added.
Kirchhoff is approaching full fitness again after three months out with a knee injury and said he was keen to help his team mates in their fight against the drop.
“It has been very frustrating,” he said. “It is not nice to be out and unable to help the team in any way. This whole season has been frustrating, not only for me personally but for us as a team.”
Sunderland have won just five of 27 league games so far and have lost three in a row going into the Burnley encounter.
(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Alison Williams)