Six points currently separate Martin O'Neill's side and the bottom three, but the Black Cats haven't won in their last five games and face bottom club QPR at the weekend.
"Their confidence will be up, but we went down there last year and got the win so we'll be confident we can do that again.
"It's a crucial time, we need to start picking up points and make sure we're not looking over our shoulder.
"We've got far too much quality in the team to be even contemplating the bottom three. But we still need a few points to get away from the relegation zone.
"It's always difficult when there's that sort of atmosphere, but it's part and parcel of football and you've got to deal with it.
"Once we get a couple of wins on the bounce again, we'll be fine. Wins are crucial and that's what breeds confidence and helps you relax. We know we need to start turning draws and narrow defeats into wins."