Sunderland defender Anton Ferdinand has warned his team-mates they are far from safe in the Barclays Premier League after their recent run of results.
The Black Cats slipped to their sixth defeat in seven games at Manchester City on Sunday and have taken just a single point since they won at Blackpool on January 22.
As a result, they have slipped from the fringes of the race for European qualification into 12th place and head into Saturday's visit of West Brom to the Stadium of Light six points clear of the relegation zone and knowing they need to return to form once again if they are to avoid being sucked into the fight for survival.
Ferdinand told the Journal: "We have to be looking over our shoulders now, definitely, because the league is that tight.
"But it is down to us as players to get back to winning ways. We need to look at ourselves, nobody else but ourselves, and we are going to have to do that next weekend at home to West Brom, a team who are fighting for their lives.
"There are not any excuses. We all have to look at ourselves, get on with training this week and make sure we are going into Saturday positive and on the front foot."
Sunderland's final seven games include five against teams below them in the table, although they are currently awaiting news on injuries which could deny them the services of Titus Bramble and Fraizer Campbell for the remainder of the season.
Ferdinand said: "West Brom next weekend is going to be difficult. By no means is it going to be an easy game.
"They are fighting for their lives which, if anything, makes it even more difficult.
"They will be willing to run the extra mile, and if we don't do that, we will be turned over."Reuse content