Burnley manager Sean Dyche admits a miraculous recovery is required for his side to retain their Premier League status following the 1-0 loss at West Ham.
The Clarets are eight points adrift of safety with three games remaining after Michael Duff's controversial sending off and Mark Noble's resulting penalty earned the Hammers victory at Upton Park.
"That makes it a whole big mountain to climb now. You're going into myths, legends and folklores," said Dyche, whose side next play Hull, one of the two safe teams they can overhaul.
"I'm a realist. I don't do blind faith. Positive realities, I call it. I'm positive but there has to be a reality."
Referee Jonathan Moss dismissed Duff for clipping Cheikhou Kouyate in the box, with Noble converting the spot kick for Sam Allardyce's side to score their first penalty of the season.
Dyche has no qualms with the penalty award, but believes anyone in the vicinity of Upton Park would have been surprised with the red card being issued.
"I asked the ref after the game and he said it was because he was ready to shoot and score," Dyche added.
"I've got no problem with the fact it's a penalty. I think there's a stadium full of people who are very surprised it's a sending off.
"I can only imagine their manager was surprised. Their staff were certainly surprised. I think the subs were surprised it was a sending off.
"I think the groundsman was surprised it was a sending off, I think the linesman was surprised it was a sending off.
"I think there was a tube station nearby where they were surprised it was a sending off."
Dyche insisted the decision was not the sole reason his side are bottom of the table and facing a return to the Championship after a one-season stay in the top flight.
"I'm not going to remotely suggest that it's this one decision that has led to where we are," he said.
"We've created enough chances to win games and we haven't taken them.
"But when you really need decisions to be right, in my opinion it wasn't right.
"It's a massive moment in a game like this. That changes everything. It's hard enough to win games at this level 11 v 11.
"It's a real sadness to me that at this stage of the season and these vital games I'm having to speak about a referee's decision which quite obviously changed the game."
The Hammers might be safe in mid-table but Allardyce's side had scored only three goals in their previous seven games and they failed to make their numerical advantage pay – having to settle for a single goal as their fans endured a tense finish to the game.
Allardyce, who admitted the sending off was "unfortunate" said: "The penalty, there's no doubt. It was very important because we didn't score any more goals. We should've scored more, we didn't and we won 1-0.
"Our only weakness today was not converting more chances.
"Because we didn't get that goal at the end, or in the middle of the second half, to make it 2-0 you all get a little nervous based on what's happened to us recently.
"We saw it out today, so we've done everything right.
"That clean sheet has been the key factor in the last two games to get us back on winning ways."
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