Swansea boss Paul Clement believes the battle for Premier League safety starts from eighth spot.
Clement’s side sit outside the relegation zone on goal difference ahead of Saturday’s home game with Brighton.
But only seven points separate Swansea and eighth-placed Watford and head coach Clement – who is coming under increasing scrutiny from supporters to oversee an upturn in performances and results – predicts a season of “twists and turns” in the fight for survival.
“I’d say it (relegation battle) starts from eighth, that’s a pretty fair reflection at the moment,” Clement said.
“Burnley are up in seventh position with (the same points as) Liverpool and have scored two more goals than us.
“The margins are so tight and that’s why everybody needs to be patient. Let’s see how things unravel later in the season.
“There’s going to be a lot of twists and turns with those teams from eighth down to 20th, for sure.”
Brighton are four points better off than Swansea with 12 from 10 games after making an encouraging start to life in the Premier League.
The Seagulls’ start, as well as that of fellow new boys Huddersfield and Newcastle, has put pressure on the established top-flight clubs who might expect the promoted sides to struggle.
But Clement is refusing to panic as Swansea search for improved form after losing five of their last six games.
“In the past it’s always been difficult at times for the club that’s come up,” Clement said.
“In this situation they have started well.
“But it’s only been 10 games and there’s 38 games – and things can change really quickly.
“And that’s how I think about my own team. We’ve won two in 10, but at the end of last season we won four in five.
“Sometimes you start thinking where’s the next point coming from because you just can’t see it.
“But then you start gathering some momentum and all of a sudden you’ve won three out of five.”
Swansea certainly need to find some form at the Liberty Stadium where they have already lost five times this season.
Those results have sparked real anxiety among supporters that Swansea are facing another season of struggle after just surviving last term.
“We have done OK away from home with a respectable amount of points,” Clement said.
“Where it has not been right is at home. We did well against Huddersfield but that is not enough.
“Every game since I have been here has felt must-win and this is another one.
“We want to get to 20 points at least at halfway and we have nine games to go, so in order to get there we have to win four games.”