Carlos Carvalhal insists Swansea must fight for their "0.01 percent chance'' of trying to remain a Premier League club.
Swansea's seven-year stay in the top flight appears to be over ahead of Sunday's final round of fixtures.
Carvalhal's side can only overtake Southampton if they enjoy a 10-goal turnaround in beating Stoke at the Liberty Stadium and the Saints lose at home to the champions Manchester City.
"After the Southampton game [Swansea lost 1-0 on Tuesday], it was like an earthquake -- 7.5 on the Richter scale,'' said Carvalhal, who is expected to leave the Welsh club after the Stoke finale.
"It was really bad. The next day I gave the players a day off to take them out of the situation. Everyone was sad, but it now has changed because we have a game.
"We have a little hope and we must fight for it. We don't have a one percent chance, we have a 0.01 percent chance. But we are still breathing a little, so let's see.''
Swansea were bottom of the Premier League and five points adrift of safety when Carvalhal was appointed at the end of December following his departure from Sheffield Wednesday a few days earlier. But the Portuguese, who steered Swansea to 13th place with five wins in his first nine league games before the team went into free fall, has been loath to criticise Swansea's results under his predecessor Paul Clement.
Carvalhal made a staunch defence of his own record, saying: "We gave our maximum, we went to the limits of ourselves and with the players. I don't believe too many managers would have done better than we did.
"In the FA Cup we achieved the quarterfinal. In the Premier League we had 17 games, before we arrived the club played 20. There were 13 points before, with us we achieve 20.
"In reality, the path we did, we are in the middle of the table. We all did the the maximum but the reality is players did not want to come to Swansea (in the January transfer window) because we were in the last position and we had injuries to important players.''
A supporter protest is planned at the Stoke game, with fans unhappy about how the club has been run by the American consortium which purchased the club in the summer of 2016.
The Supporters' Trust this week again called for the removal of long-time chairman Huw Jenkins, but Carvalhal has urged the fans to "give everything'' for the team on Sunday.
"It is very difficult to talk to the fans at this moment as they are hurting like us,'' Carvalhal said. "But it's the same message as I give my players, let's give everything until the end and show our feelings at the end of the game.
"The players must show everybody they are Premier League footballers, not Championship footballers. The challenge is to win the game.''