Sunderland midfielder Boudewijn Zenden has warned his team-mates they will have underachieved if they do not secure a top-10 Barclays Premier League finish this season.
Just a few weeks ago the Black Cats were being considered genuine candidates for European qualification after spending much of the first half of the campaign in and around the top six.
However, their recent slump in form, coupled with the recoveries staged by the likes of Liverpool and Everton, have seen them slip to ninth ahead of Sunday`s trip to Manchester City.
Zenden said: "It's all that tight that everything is possible. It's nice to be up there during the season, but we have always said it's more important to be there at the end of the season.
"If you look at a team like Everton, who were struggling at the beginning, and where they are now, even Liverpool for example, it definitely is important where you finish.
"If you have got eight games to go, you have got a lot to play for. But it is time to step up and start picking up the points. Obviously, you set your targets. Target one has always been finishing in the top 10 and, if you look at the team we have got, that's definitely something that we should achieve."