Dave Bassett told Sky Sports News he believes Middlesbrough's victory over Liverpool last weekend should convince the team they have the ability to pull away from the relegation zone.
Boro stunned Liverpool at The Riverside last weekend, defeating the title-chasers 2-0 just days after The Reds had beaten Real Madrid at The Bernabeu.
That victory, according to Bassett, will prove to be a great motivating tool for Boro boss Gareth Southgate, following his side's 14-game winless streak which had preceded the Liverpool game - plummeting the club into the relegation zone.
"Gareth Southgate's got quite an easy conversation with his team: 'If we can beat Liverpool 2-0 there's no reason we can't beat other teams,'" said Bassett. "But Middlesbrough do play well against the top four teams.
"Their problem is when they come up against the teams in and around the same area as themselves. They don't seem to grind out the results or get the performance they want.
"There's no reason for them to worry if they play as well as they can."
With barely 10 points separating the bottom 10 teams in the league a run of victories could propel any of the sides fighting relegation away from danger.
Bassett feels the likes of Hull City, who have not won in 2009, and Stoke City, who snatched a last-gasp 2-2 draw with Villa last week, both need to put a string of home wins together to ensure their safety.
"It's extremely competitive and nobody can confidently say they're safe," he said.
"Hull are on a slippery slope - it's not easy to start picking up points again. One victory, though, can make a hell of a difference.
"The advantage for Hull is they have got points in the bag from earlier in the season but they've got to win their home games. On their day they are more than capable but Phil Brown has got to somehow inject that confidence into the team.
"It's also got to come from the players. They've got to say 'enough is enough; we've got to start winning football matches to stay up'.
"The same goes for Stoke. It was a great result for them against Villa but they have now got to win their home games, where they fancy themselves - they've played all the top teams."
However, Bassett expects struggling Tottenham to steer well clear of danger.
"Tottenham have got enough about them. If they perform to any level, which they should do, they are more than capable of escaping from the relegation battle," he said.
Bassett also added he believes Fulham will now be looking to push further up the table after escaping the relegation dogfight.
"Roy Hodgson will be saying he's concerned about what's below but he will be looking upwards.
"They are in excellent form and their home form is terrific.
"They've had a good season and I think they will be hoping that, if they can continue their run of home form and get a few victories away, Europe is not out of the question."