SUNDERLAND, United Kingdom - Gus Poyet insists home form is the key to bottom of the table Sunderland's bid to remain in the Premier League.
Three of the north-east side's last four games are at home against teams around them in the battle to beat the drop, starting with Sunday's visit by third-bottom Cardiff City.
Sunderland have pulled to within three points of safety after unexpectedly taking four points from tough back-to-back trips to title-chasing Manchester City and Chelsea.
But Poyet knows they must back those results up against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side before, following the trip to Manchester United, they welcome West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City to the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland have won just once at home in the league since beating Manchester City in November and Poyet said it was a statistic they must improve to have any hope of prolonging their seven-season stay in the top flight.
"We've been written off so many times, and we're so lucky to have another chance," Sunderland manager Poyet said.
"We'll give it our best shot and see what happens but our home form is now crucial to us," the former Uruguay midfielder added.
"We've got a great chance, let's take it. There are no excuses. We've got ourselves in great positions in the past this season and haven't backed it up with a win at home. Now this is a chance we need to take." Poyet has set his side a target of two wins and a draw from their last four games to reach his 36-point safety mark.
"I've always said we need 36 points or over to be safe and my mind's not changed on that," he explained. "If we win our three remaining home games that will take us over that."