Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce heaped praise on Jermain Defoe for keeping their survival hopes alive, after his late goal at Stoke City on Saturday.
A late penalty from the former England international earned the Black Cats a crucial point in a 1-1 draw with Stoke at the Britannia Stadium and Allardyce could not hide his delight at the contribution the striker has made to the team this season.
“Where would we be without Jermain Defoe? Relegated probably,” the manager said after the match.
“The other lads haven’t scored enough goals, Jermain has kept us close to be out of trouble.
“I am going home satisfied it is a point gained rather than two dropped.”
The salvaged point is not enough to keep Sunderland out of the relegation zone, as they remain in 18th place, but are now just one point away from safety.
Allardyce believes his side can still survive the drop and believes six points in their last four remaining games will be enough to ensure their survival.
“We have our destiny in our own hands and have got to play better so if the referee slips up we have got to make sure it doesn’t cost us,” he explained.
“It was a scrappy game, we have got to win that game in hand [against Everton] and certainly next week against Chelsea.”