Teemu Tainio has warned his Sunderland team-mates that they will be in danger of Premier League relegation if they begin to worry about the drop.
The Black Cats were defeated 2-1 by 10-man Aston Villa at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, sending Rick Sbragia's side falling to 15th position in the table.
Having thrown away the lead against Villa, Sunderland have not won in the league since downing Hull City at the end of December.
But Finland midfielder Tainio remains upbeat and feels his team-mates cannot afford to allow their heads to drop in the battle to avoid plummeting into the Championship.
The bottom 12 clubs in the Premier League are separated by only six points and Tainio is well aware of that statistic, telling the Sunderland Echo: "It is still very tight. Everyone can beat anyone on their best day.
"We had a good first 45 minutes on Saturday, but Villa had a better second half.
"We must analyse this defeat and see what went wrong for us because we seemed to be in control of the game.
"We started the game very well and believed we could get the points.
"We need to keep that belief. If you start to worry then you really are in trouble.
"We have a good enough squad to stay in this league and finish in a good position."