Gus Poyet believes Sunderland will be denied their just rewards if they fail to avoid relegation after a remarkable week.
Having looked all but down just a few games ago, the Premier League's bottom club are now only three points from safety after following up Wednesday's 2-2 draw at Manchester City with a superb 2-1 comeback win on Saturday over another title challenger in Chelsea.
Sunderland still have a game in hand on the two teams above them and host fellow strugglers Cardiff City, West Brom and Swansea City before the end of the campaign - opening up a genuine possibility of survival after Poyet had stated that his men needed a "miracle" on the back of a 5-1 reverse at Tottenham earlier this month.
But after Fabio Borini's late penalty gave them a shock win at Stamford Bridge, Poyet believes that the momentum has swung.
"If we don't stay up now it will be a shame really," said the Sunderland boss. "On Wednesday at five o'clock (ahead of the Manchester City game) we were dead.
"Then we got a point at Manchester City, it should have been three. We got three today here to give us a great lift and a great opportunity to stay up."
Chelsea took a 12th-minute lead through Samuel Eto'o but Poyet's men produced a stirring fightback, with Connor Wickham adding to his midweek brace with a close-range equaliser before Borini converted from the penalty spot eight minutes from time after Cesar Azpilicueta had brought down substitute Jozy Altidore.
"We needed to fight, we needed to defend, we needed to stay in the game, we needed to make it difficult for them and we needed to take a chance or two," added former Chelsea midfielder Poyet.
"Overall, a team at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League coming here and playing the way we play I think is quite decent.
"But that's us, that's our season. Every time we play against the top teams we perform somehow in a better way than when we play the teams at the bottom.
"So I'm not surprised - It's nice. It was special for me as well, but we needed the points so it's very welcome."
The victory ended Jose Mourinho's 77-game unbeaten run in home Premier League fixtures as Chelsea boss and Poyet's counterpart gave witheringly sarcastic praise to referee Mike Dean and officials chief Mike Riley during a tempestuous and brief post-match press conference
Dean's decision to penalise Azpilicueta's challenge on Altidore to hand Sunderland their late spot-kick was the incident most likely to have riled Mourinho.
Poyet sympathised with the Portuguese's reaction, stating that he would have been in a similar frenzy had such a call gone against his team.
"My view from where I was, I couldn't comment, but I saw on the computer and I understand why we can be talking if it was or not," he added. "It's very difficult.
"I never, ever would expect to get a penalty here.
"It (Mourinho's reaction) is not too bad. If it was against me I would be the same.
"Emotions at key moments in the season - it could be the key moment for the title that one.
"Maybe I understand why he (the referee) gave it, especially the linesman - I'm not talking about the referee now.
"The angle where the linesman is, and when you see Azpilicueta going down trying to put the foot across, maybe he thought it was a different kind of contact to the one the television is showing.
"But I understand. If it was against me and I lose the game with a penalty I would be fuming, for sure."
|Coach: José Mourinho|
for Oscar 59'
for Mohamed Salah 66'
for S. Eto'o 74'
|Pellegrini laments key turning points in Burnley setback|
|Newcastle United 3 Everton 2: Pardew´s men impress at St James´ Park|
|League One Review: Swindon climb into second, MK Dons suffer surprise defeat|
|Championship Review: Bournemouth go four points clear, Boro held|
|Koeman hails Southampton spirit|
|Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0 Aberdeen 1: Pawlett strikes sends McInnes´ men second|
|Mourinho fumes at ´campaign´ against Chelsea|
|Manchester City 2 Burnley 2: Barnes claims a point to deny champions|
|West Ham 1 Arsenal 2: Wenger´s men climb above hosts|
|Hull City 0 Leicester City 1: Mahrez fires Pearson´s men to victory|
|QPR 0 Crystal Palace 0: Millen makes solid start as temporary Palace boss|
|Aston Villa 0 Sunderland 0: Delph sees red in stalemate|
|Stoke 2 West Brom 0: Diouf brace secures back-to-back wins|
|Southampton 1 Chelsea 1: Mourinho´s men end 2014 on top|
|Van Gaal frustrated with wasteful finishing|
|Pochettino content with goalless draw|
|Tottenham 0 Manchester United 0: Honours even at White Hart Lane|
|Klose vows to fight for Lazio place|
|Hughton admits interest in Palace and Brighton roles|
|Injuries not behind retirement plans, says Rolfes|
|Podolski: Arsenal exit not a formality|
|Wellington Phoenix 1 Western Sydney Wanderers 0: Krishna wins it|
|Taylor wary of ´beast´ Lukaku|
|Al Habsi to lead Oman at Asian Cup|
|Lacazette will stay at Lyon - Aulas|
|Southampton like Atletico, says Alderweireld|
|World Cup held PSG back - Blanc|
|Everton facing ´pivotal´ moment - Martinez|
|Zamora urges QPR to tie down Austin|
|Badstuber, Alaba set for New Year return|
|Burgos: Atletico will get the best out of Torres|
|Chelsea to offer Terry new deal - Mourinho|
|Rodgers excited by Sterling development|
|Strinic close to finalising Napoli switch|
|Torres to join Milan on permanent deal|
|Scottish Premiership Review: Celtic held to shock draw, rivals fail to capitalise|
|Wenger sings Song´s praises|
|Pochettino calls for bravery|
|West Ham could lose Allardyce - Sullivan|
|League One Preview: Saunders takes charge for Colchester clash|
|Aguirre denies any involvement in La Liga match-fixing scandal|
|Mourinho impressed by Koeman´s Southampton|
|QPR v Crystal Palace: Millen recast in familiar role|
|West Ham v Arsenal: Allardyce eyes further home comfort|
|Elusive Coppa Italia on Juventus´ wish list - Marotta|
|Jones eyes swift response|
|Millen focused on QPR clash|
|League Two Preview: Shrewsbury, Wycombe and Burton vie for year-end top spot|
|Mancini not expecting big-money signings at Inter|
|Tottenham v Manchester United: Carrick expects tough return|
|Pearson eager to see Leicester resolve|
|Newcastle United v Everton: Martinez demands clinical touch|
|Liverpool v Swansea City: Rodgers backs returning Mignolet|
|Bayern can still improve - Sammer|
|Warnock sacked by Palace|
|Aston Villa v Sunderland: No club too big to go down, says Lambert|
|Hull City v Leicester City: Pearson vows to keep going|
|Stoke City v West Brom: Hughes targets elusive back-to-back wins|
|Rodgers dismisses Balotelli exit rumours|
|Modric will not rush Madrid return|
|Dyche pleased with Vokes return|
|Southampton v Chelsea: Koeman vows to go on the offensive|
|A-League Review: Six-goal Gosford thriller, Victory leave it late|
|Manchester City v Burnley: Pellegrini warns against complacency|
|Dortmund can fight on two fronts - Watzke|
|Sterling hails improved Liverpool belief|
|Rosicky eager to build on QPR winner|
|Wenger: ´We made it hard for ourselves´|
|Kane: Spurs eye top four|
|Di Maria in doubt for Spurs clash|
|Ba left out of Senegal AFCON squad|
|Redknapp frustrated by penalty call|
|Wenger sees Giroud wrongs|
|Premier League schedule a ´disgrace´, says Poyet|
|Championship Review: Bournemouth stay top, Heskey scores on Bolton debut|
|Hughes lauds Bojan performance|
|Koeman: Saints marching on|
|Pardew rues referee error|
|Arsenal 2 QPR 1: Sublime Alexis secures the spoils|
|Martinez questions Walters decision|
|Poyet laments Sunderland mistakes|
|League One Review: Swindon cruise to win over Walsall|
|Irvine aware of need for improvement|
|United still doing ´very bad things´ - Van Gaal|
|Lambert proud of players despite Swansea defeat|
|Warnock bemoans Palace defence|
|Bruce hails Hull´s spirit|
|Pochettino relieved to come away with victory|
|Dyche: We had our pocket pinched|
|Monk hails Fabianski performance|
|Pearson demands greater concentration from Leicester|
|Kompany set for City return|
|Rodgers hails character after battling win|
|League Two Review: Ainsworth frustrated by Luton, Shrewsbury go top|
|Everton 0 Stoke City 1: Lacklustre Everton slip to defeat|
|Sunderland 1 Hull City 3: Triumphant return for Bruce|
|Burnley 0 Liverpool 1: Sterling wins it at Turf Moor|
|Leicester City 1 Tottenham 2: Eriksen piles misery on Pearson´s men|
|Manchester United 3 Newcastle United 1: Rooney extends hosts´ streak|
|West Brom 1 Manchester City 3: Three and easy for in-form champions|
|Swansea City 1 Aston Villa 0: Hosts break Boxing Day duck|
|Crystal Palace 1 Southampton 3: Mane marks return with star performance|
|Allardyce upbeat despite defeat|
|Van Dijk happy at Celtic - Deila|
|Table-topping Chelsea delight Mourinho|
|Chelsea 2 West Ham 0: Mourinho´s men ease to victory|
|Suarez enjoying Messi, Neymar link-up|
|A-League Review: Garcia rescues point for Perth, Adelaide up to second|
|Poyet calls for mid-season break|
|Van Gaal rules out Januzaj move|
|Rodgers: Balotelli may have to get used to bench|
|Lallana: I was trying too hard|
|Walker juggles music, football careers in Sweden|
|Song to face ´brother from another mother´ Fabregas|
|Adriano announces Le Havre deal|
|Pardew braced for Old Trafford test|
|Lescott unfazed by City reunion|
|Tskhadadze appointed Georgia coach|
|United to finish top three - Ferdinand|
|Allardyce: Stamford Bridge stalemate saved my job|