Trinidadian football icon Dwight Yorke says he does not want the stain of relegation to sully an otherwise outstanding career and has urged his Sunderland teammates to do all in their power to avoid the drop.
Yorke, whose contract expires at the end of the season, said he wanted to end the season on a high and had already stressed this to the players at Tyneside.
"It's up to us as a staff to explain the importance to the players because I have never been relegated in my life," said the 37-year-old.
"I'm coming to the end of my career and I don't want that on my CV. I made it known that you don't want to be going off in the summer knowing you are coming back to the Championship. I would like to think that has sunk in."
Yorke is in the twilight of his playing days, having experienced a glittering career as a striker with Aston Villa and then European giants Manchester United.
Brought to the north-east England club by former Sunderland manager Roy Keane, Yorke's experience played a key role in the outfit's promotion from the Championship league in 2007.
With Sunderland languishing, Yorke said his experience was again needed if the team was to hammer out positive results in their remaining games and remain in the top flight.
"If you are not scoring goals and you are in the position we are, when you go a goal behind it takes a lot of character to come back," said Yorke
who won the famous Treble of the Champions League, Premiership and FA Cup with Manchester United in 1999.
"At the moment, we are lacking a bit of that. I am looking to get back in the team now to bring a bit of experience.
"We have players who have played in the Premier League but only for a year or two. We don't really have any established Premier League players and they are finding it a bit difficult.
He stressed: "That's part of the reason I am here, to
bring that calming influence. Hopefully, given that chance, I can influence the team from the pitch."
Yorke, who has not played for the club in over two months, could be in for a recall with Sunderland hosting Manchester United on Saturday.
Despite his recent inactivity, he said he had been training every-day and believed he could lend valuable experience come match day.