Sunderland defender Nedum Onuoha says maximum points from the final three Premier League games must be the target despite a run of one win in 11 matches.
Saturday's 3-0 home defeat by Fulham came just seven days after the Black Cats looked to have ended their slump with a 4-2 win over strugglers Wigan.
"We're a confident, determined bunch of people," Onuoha told BBC Newcastle.
"Going into the final three games, nine points is the ambition, anywhere near that and we'll be happy."
Onuoha added: "We need as many points as we can get."
Injuries, particularly in the striking areas, have forced Wearsiders' boss Steve Bruce to shuffle his squad and make unorthodox changes to his line-up.
The on-loan Manchester City defender was pushed into a centre-forward role against Fulham, while midfielder Jack Colback was asked to operate in a left full-back role.
Academy striker Craig Lynch was handed a debut up front as a second-half substitute, as the depleted Black Cats slipped to a 14th league defeat of the season.
"I think it didn't help the side, the amount of changes we had to make," Onuoha said.
"The people who started the game, and the ones who had to come off ran themselves into the ground, so those changes had to be made.
"I thought I'd give it a go [up front], you're doing it for the team, so I tried to do as much as I could."
Since joining the club on a season-long loan in August, Onuoha has made 28 appearances, scoring once.