Sunderland look like they will need a miracle to stay up this season but David Moyes is refusing to throw in the towel.
Defeat to Watford left the Black Cats marooned at the bottom of the Premier League and eight points from safety, heaping further pressure on Moyes.
But he remains confident that Sunderland can stay up despite their perilous position.
Miguel Britos scored the winning goal – a free header at the back post after Sunderland switched off in the 59th minute.
Goal-shy Sunderland – who haven’t scored in five games – couldn’t find a way back into the game, with home keeper Heurelho Gomes not tested enough.
Defeat leaves Sunderland cut adrift with just nine games of the season to play ahead of tomorrow ’s trip to on-form Leicester, who are gunning for a fifth successive Premier League win.
When asked whether Sunderland needed a miracle to survive, Moyes said: “We need to win games.
“I don’t know about miracles, but we know they do happen, and they’ve happened a couple of times at Sunderland recently.
“We needed to take something from the game, and I thought overall we deserved to do that.
“I actually thought we played a lot better late on, when we trying to get forward a bit more.
“That was partly because Watford were desperate for the result and were hanging on a bit late on. I was more disappointed with the start of the second half, because Watford gained a little bit of momentum and we weren’t really able to stop that.
“I’m sure the club have been here before. I’ve not been here before – it’s new to me – but hopefully the people at the club know exactly what it’s like.
“In one of the seasons, they were seven points behind with six games to go, and stayed up.
“I think if you can do it from that position, you can do it from any. We’ll keep going, and we’ll keep trying to pick up the points.
“It’s new to me, but I don’t want to have teams at the bottom of the league. I don’t want to be at this position where we’re losing.
“I don’t actually think today we deserved to lose the game. If it had been a point apiece, I don’t think you could have argued.”
Moyes, heavily criticised for naming Didier Ndong and Wahbi Khazri on the bench, defended his players and said they showed a “big heart” despite the defeat.
“I thought the players showed a big heart, big commitment and kept going at it right til the end.
“We tried to find a way of scoring but it’s been a problem for us recently.”
When asked if he was confident Sunderland could stay up, he said: “Yes. Results haven’t gone for us but while it’s there we are going to have to keep going.”