Stoke City: We're taking nothing for granted, says Charlie Adam
STOKE City star Charlie Adam denies there is any danger of complacency creeping into the camp ahead of an easier-looking set of fixtures.
Stoke have already been pitted against last season's top four in their first eight fixtures of the current campaign.
Now their next eight Premier League games see them entertain Sunderland, QPR, Fulham and Newcastle at the Britannia, and travel to Norwich, West Ham, West Brom and Aston Villa.
Adam acknowledges the tough start to Stoke's season, but insists there can be no easing up during what many would argue are an even more significant set of matches for the club.
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"There's no reason why we should be complacent," Adam stressed.
"And certainly not if we want to build on what we have done so far this season and what the club did last year.
"It's great to play at places like Manchester United, but they are not the games that decide your season.
"It's games against the likes of Sunderland that are going to influence where we finish."
The 26-year-old admits there were some wounds being licked after Saturday's 4-2 loss at Manchester United when Stoke's defending came under close scrutiny.
City's bright start had included a Wayne Rooney own goal from Adam's early free-kick, but the concession of four goals in the space of 37 minutes either side of half-time left Stoke beaten at Old Trafford on a fifth successive occasion in the Premier League.
Manager Tony Pulis was so aggrieved by United's four goals that he promised to make his players sit through the video in training yesterday.
"We knew it was going to be difficult, but to concede four goals from four crosses was disappointing and hard to take," explained Adam.
"The goals we scored gave us an opportunity to do something in the game, but overall we are disappointed by the goals we conceded.
"In that second half they had the quality to kill us off.
"To lose a goal a minute before half-time was crucial and then we lose a goal a few seconds after half-time.
"We huffed and puffed in the second half, but we didn't get what we maybe deserved from the game because the first half was probably the best we've played all season, certainly since I've been here.
"But we will learn, take the positives from it and be ready for Sunderland."
The Scotland midfielder had returned from back-to-back World Cup qualifying defeats to complete what was his first 90 minutes after his fifth start for the club since joining from Liverpool at the end of August.
His influence when he had the ball, together with his greater-looking fitness when he didn't, were encouraging indications that his very best form is just round the corner.
"It was nice to get 90 minutes and I'm really enjoying it here," he added.
"To play against United, City, Liverpool and Chelsea... it's been great for me."
Lou Macari – Don't go crazy over Stoke display: Page 47