Sunderland’s margin with the bottom three was reduced to just one last weekend after Leicester’s continued renaissance put the Foxes on the Black Cats’ coat-tails.
With the bottom five in the table all yet to reach 30 points heading into the final half-dozen games, there is realistically no prospect of Sunderland requiring a tally of 40 – traditionally seen as the safety mark for Premier League survival – to extend their stay in the top flight.
Many have tipped 35 as the magical number which will be sufficient and Advocaat agrees – predicting that Sunderland need a six-point minimum haul from the last six games if they are to be safe.
“We need at least six points from the last six games to stay up,” he said.
“But we have the feeling we can do something.”
New head coach Advocaat has averaged a point per game from his three outings so far, yet Sunderland’s hopes of beating the drop were hit hard by the demoralising collapse against Crystal Palace, prior to the fortnight’s break from action.
However, Advocaat has used the break astutely – experimenting with a new shape in a behind-closed-doors friendly against SPL side Hamilton last weekend.
“It is good using the week to train a little bit sharper, so they understand what we have to do,” he added to the club website.
“We played a friendly game against Hamilton with a different system, so I could see them in a different way of playing, which was good.
“We have to show that the Crystal Palace game was a mistake. We gave that game away in 10 minutes.
“We have to show we are improving. I can see that in training, they give everything and the commitment is there, but they have to show that in the games.”