LONDON Sunderland's battle to stay in the Premier League is beginning to get "desperate", manager David Moyes said after his bottom-of-the-table side suffered a 2-0 loss against a resurgent Leicester City on Tuesday.
Sunderland, who sit eight points adrift of the relative safety of 17th-placed Swansea City with eight games remaining, have won just one of their last 13 league games and have failed to score in each of their last six.
Before a run-in which sees them face the three teams immediately above them -- Middlesbrough, Hull City and Swansea -- Sunderland face daunting fixtures against Manchester United and Arsenal in their next three games.
"It's desperate now -- I said that we had to win one of these two games away from home," Moyes told Sky Sports after the Leicester defeat followed a 1-0 loss at Watford.
"The boys have given a good go at it. There's no faulting them, I think they've done everything they can. We've just lacked that bit of quality, a bit of defending, when we've needed it.
"The players have been (in a relegation battle) before, we'll keep going again. It's still within our hands to stay up and we'll try make sure that they do that."
The pressure has increased on Moyes this week after he was widely criticised for an exchange with a female reporter, in which he told her that she might get a slap [nL3N1HC2S7].
After their defeat against Leicester, Moyes said he had put the situation behind him to focus all his efforts on maintaining Sunderland's top-flight status.
Leicester's resurgence under Craig Shakespeare, meanwhile, has been helped by the return-to-form of England forward Jamie Vardy who has now scored in three successive league matches.
"Yes I think you could say that (Leicester's confidence has returned to the levels of last season's title-winning campaign)," Vardy told Sky Sports.
"We've showed in the past five games that everyone is buzzing around the pitch for each other. We're pressing high and it's nice to do that and picking up the points along the way."
(Reporting By Tom Hayward; Editing by Toby Davis)