Harry Redknapp has admitted that Queens Park Rangers simply must beat Wigan at home this weekend to stand any chance of staying in the Premier League.
Although Redknapp maintained his usual public stance of refusing to consider relegation until it is mathematically certain, his comments about Sunday's fixture reflect the starkness of the situation. QPR are currently seven points adrift of Wigan, who lie in 17th with a game in hand. Redknapp feels the club need at least five wins from their last seven games, but that the next match is of particular importance.
"We've got to beat Wigan. There is nothing else for it," Redknapp said. "It won't be easy [against] a good side, a good club, a good manager, a good chairman. It's a big game. We have to beat them. Anything else but a win wouldn't be any good to us.
"We've just got to keep winning. From where we are now, we need to win five games. It's a tall order but not impossible. We won't give up [if we lose]. Even if there's five games left, we can still win all five. So we're not going to give up. You don't give up. You've got to keep going.
"When I stop believing, they'll stop believing. If I send out the wrong message, they'll down tools as well. I don't feel we've had it yet. I still believe we can pull it off - not a miracle. Winning football matches isn't a miracle. But we need to win some games. I couldn't tell you the pleasure it would give me. It would be fantastic."
"The last two games, we had two away games, where we should have picked some points up," he explained. "We could be in a much better position than we are. Those two games it didn't happen. But we've got to keep going.
"I've been pleased with the way that we've been playing - and we've been scoring goals which is something we haven't done all year. We look like we are going to score but now we are conceding goals. It's not through being an open team, we've just made individual errors. If you look at the goals that we conceded at Aston Villa and at Fulham, these have been glaring individual errors which can happen - but they've happened at the wrong time.
"There's been a few weeks where we've played quite well but we haven't got the rewards. I've a friend who played for Villa for many, many years that sent me a text the other day. It said 'Watching your team play in the first half at Villa was like watching the Tottenham teams you've brought to Villa in the last few years'. That's how well we played. We could have been 4-0 up. Then the other night, we made horrendous mistakes, but we came back to 3-2."
Chris Samba came in for particular criticism for such errors after the Fulham defeat, but Redknapp has backed his centre-back.
"He had a nightmare to be fair but he was fantastic at Southampton," Redknapp added. "We won at Southampton and it was one of the best performances that I've seen in years from a central defender. He's a top player. He could play in any team in the top four. He had a bad night but he's not the first defender that I've seen make mistakes.
"I could go through a whole list of the greatest defenders in this country and they've all made mistakes. He had a bad night. He knows that. He'll come back from that. I'm sure on Sunday we'll see the Samba that we're used to seeing."
Redknapp also offered his unique take on the criticism Samba received on Twitter, as well as the defender's response to it.
"Listen, if you want to be on Twitter, from what I understand, then you're going to have to be open for criticism," he said. "The world is full of nutters who are going to send you messages slagging you off, they're not all going to come and say you're fantastic.
"If you can't stand the heat, don't go on Twitter. If you don't like what you read in the paper, don't buy it. It's as simple as that. Who are these people going on Twitter? I don't know who they are and I wouldn't even want to know."
Redknapp, meanwhile, responded to stories about his future by stating that it has not been discussed yet, but he would stay if asked: "We've still got a job to do this year. It's up to the owners and the chairman. I'm happy here. It's a good club. When you come to work every day for nice people, it makes a difference to your life. I've no problem here. I'm very happy. If he wants me to stay, I'd stay. I really want to stay up for them. I love it here."