Gareth Barry believes Aston Villa must win at least four points from their next two matches if they are to qualify for the Uefa Cup via the Premiership.
Barry will skipper Villa against Charlton Athletic tonight in the continued absence of Olof Mellberg, who has a knee injury.
Barry, aged 23, says Villa cannot afford to lose at home to either the Addicks or Bolton Wanderers on Saturday if they are gatecrash to the top seven in their five remaining matches.
David O'Leary's side lie ninth in the league but they must finish at least seventh to be certain of a European spot.
It will be a difficult task for O'Leary's team, with matches against Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Liverpool to follow this week's double header at Villa Park.
But Barry says Villa are in optimistic mood after their memorable comeback at Southampton last Saturday --when they turned a 2-0 halftime deficit into a 3-2 victory.
He said: "That was a massive win so we will be going into the Charlton game very confident.
"We have two home games on the back of the Southampton result against sides around us in the table so a lot will be expected of us. But if we were to get at least four points from these two games then that would put us in a strong position for the remaining three.
"We have still got a chance of getting into Europe so we have to give it everything. We have a good record at home."
Villa showed considerable spirit and tenacity to win at St Mary's after losing Darius Vassell and Martin Laursen to first-half injuries and Barry believes such qualities will help the team in their run-in.
He added: "We were certainly up against it at Southampton with Martin coming off because his knee wasn't right and then Darius getting injured.
"We had to reshuffle the defence, so we showed a lot of character to come through that and there were several plus points." n Portsmouth manager Alain Perrin wants midfielder Patrik Berger to sign a new contract.
Berger, who is out of contract at the end of the season, has been strongly linked with free transfer to Villa but Perrin hopes to keep the 31-yearold Czech international.
He said: "I want to keep him but in the end the decision is Patrik's. I don't know if he has made his decision yet. We have to talk to the chairman Milan Mandaric and Velimir Zajec, the sport director, but I think Patrik can still play a role for Portsmouth."