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Solskjaer prays for survival miracle

ESPN staff
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes bridging the gap to Premier League safety will be difficult © Getty Images
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Cardiff City manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted his side must produce a miracle if they are to avoid the drop from the Premier League.

Cardiff slumped to a calamitous 3-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday and now find themselves six points from safety, a gap which Solskjaer believes will be difficult to make up.

"We were looking forward to this game and then we end up with a disappointing result and game like this," Solskjaer said.

Relegation run-in: Who plays who

  • 14th - Crystal Palace:
  • Aston Villa (H), Everton (A), West Ham (A), Manchester City (H), Liverpool (H), Fulham (A)
  • 15th - Swansea:
  • Chelsea (H), Newcastle (A), Aston Villa (H), Southampton (H), Sunderland (A)
  • 16th - West Brom:
  • Tottenham (H), Manchester City (A), West Ham (H), Arsenal (A), Sunderland (A), Stoke (H)
  • 17th - Norwich:
  • Fulham (A), Liverpool (H), Manchester United (A), Chelsea (A), Arsenal (H)
  • 18th - Fulham:
  • Norwich (H), Tottenham (A), Hull (H), Stoke (A), Crystal Palace (H)
  • 19th - Cardiff City:
  • Southampton (A), Stoke (H), Sunderland (A), Newcastle (A), Chelsea (H)
  • 20th - Sunderland:
  • Tottenham (A), Everton (H), Manchester City (A), Chelsea (A), Cardiff (H), Manchester United (A), West Brom (H), Swansea (H)

"It is going to be difficult to stay up but we have got to be full of fight. It has been a tough season for everyone at the club and I think it showed towards the end. We have got to work hard and we need to produce a miracle to stay up now."

Victory for Palace keeps them seven points above third-bottom Fulham, who were also victorious on the road with a 2-1 triumph at Aston Villa and, as a result, moved a point ahead of Cardiff.

Palace manager Tony Pulis, who saw his side beat Chelsea last weekend, praised his players for their efforts at the Cardiff City stadium but insisted they are still not safe from the drop.

"We have a lot of work to do," Pulis said. "Some results have brought the pack together and we have got to keep focused, but it was a fantastic performance from the players. The season is not over and the biggest problem is complacency and people taking their foot off of the pedal."

However, the mood is very different in the Norwich City camp. A 1-0 loss at home to West Brom means they have won only twice in their last 11 outings and, although five points clear of 18th-placed Fulham, face arguably the toughest run-in.

Chris Hughton's side take on Fulham next week in a crunch tie at the bottom, which has the potential to drag Norwich deeper into the mire. Victory at Craven Cottage is a must for the Canaries, who then face Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in their final four games of the season.

"We didn't show enough quality, conceded a poor goal and they sat deep," Hughton said of Saturday's defeat to West Brom. "We needed to use the ball better and we were too loose with our passing. It was not a lack of desire or endeavour but there was a lack of quality.

"We have taken a step backwards and we have to turn it around against Fulham next week. Losing today makes it an even bigger game. It was an opportunity to get a gap between us and the bottom three and we are now fighting for our lives. I can understand the fans' anxiety and frustration; they don't want to see their team in this position."

Similarly, Swansea and Garry Monk are looking carefully over their shoulders following a 1-0 defeat at Hull City, whose own top-flight status looks to have been secured by George Boyd's headed winner.

Just six points ahead of Fulham, Swansea host title-chasing Chelsea next and, with big games against Aston Villa and Sunderland to follow, Monk's side are still very much in the battle.

"It's bitterly frustrating for all of us but the first half is where we lost the game," Monk said. "We had a few half chances but we only maybe created enough for a draw, not to win it. It's back to the drawing board and about making sure we get a reaction.

"We're not safe and I don't know why anyone would celebrate 33 points. It's not good enough for the quality of players we've got and we're not going to rest until the end of the season."

Hugo Rodallega scored the winner at Aston Villa - and has Premier League survival experience from his time at Wigan © PA Photos
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