Sunderland manager Gus Poyet was left close to achieving a miracle after his side climbed out of the relegation places for the first time since February in the latest twist of "the most strange, incredible and unexpected season."
Poyet's side thrashed fellow Premier League strugglers Cardiff City 4-0 at the Stadium of Light on Sunday to leave them in control of their own destiny with three games remaining and the Welsh side rooted to the bottom of the table.
Sunderland now have 32 points, ahead of Norwich City on goal difference, with Fulham on 31 and Cardiff on 30 with the bottom trio all having played a game more than Poyet's team.
Sunderland next face a trip to Manchester United before finishing with home games against West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City with six points required to stay up.
A remarkable turn around for Sunderland and Poyet, who took over from Italian Paolo Di Canio in October with the club having achieved only one point from their first seven matches. "We've done everything and we've done nothing," Poyet was quoted as saying by British media on Monday. "We've put ourselves in a great position but everything can change.
"Let's see if I'm here in two weeks telling you miracles happen." Earlier this month, Poyet said he was a realist and that his side needed a miracle to stay up after four successive defeats, including a 5-1 tanking by Tottenham Hotspur, left them marooned at the foot of the table.