Joey Barton believes West Ham United will be relegated from the Premier League this season unless they take at least four points from their next two home fixtures.
The Hammers were defeated 3-0 on their own patch by Burnley at the weekend in a match that was equally notable for the fan protests against the club’s hierarchy.
Following on from that loss, West Ham are back in action at the London Stadium at the end of the month against Southampton, whilst Stoke City are the visitors in mid-April.
Those clashes come either side of a difficult trip to Chelsea and Barton feels that they need to take a win and a draw at minimum from their two relegation rivals to stand a chance of staying in the top flight.
“[The] next two home games, Southampton and Stoke, I mean, if they don’t pick up four points from those games, I think they are gone because the run-in is tough,” the pundit told talkSPORT earlier this week.
Whilst Barton is known for his often controversial opinions, it is hard to argue that West Ham need to pick up points against both the Saints and the Potters to remain clear of the drop zone.
A difficult final couple of months of the campaign sees the Irons host Manchester United and Manchester City, whilst also travelling to Chelsea and Arsenal.
Anything gained from those clashes will be considered a bonus and the focus must be on beating teams around them in the table.
West Ham sit 16th in the Premier League, just three points above the bottom three with eight matches of the term remaining.
The squad are currently away in Miami for some warm-weather training and supporters will hope that they return ready for what promises to be a nerve-racking fight against the drop.