CHARLIE ADAM believes that Stoke City must win at least two of their remaining five Barclays Premier League games if they are to retain their top-flight status this season.
City's 2-0 defeat at home to Manchester United means they sit just three points above the drop zone ahead of a crucial showdown with fellow strugglers Queens Park Rangers.
Tony Pulis' side travel to the capital on Saturday searching for what would be a first League win in eight games; an outcome that the Scotland international now feels is a necessity.
"Our season starts now, and we have to go to Queens Park Rangers in five or six days time and win that game," Adam acknowledged.
"They are down there along with us, and look to be in a very difficult position, so that is a game that we have to try and go out to win.
"There are five games to go and we need a couple of victories, I'm pretty sure of that," he added.
"It's tough at the moment and we are going through a bad spell, but we undoubtedly have the quality within the squad to get out of it."
The former Liverpool man also feels the early goal scored by Michael Carrick played an instrumental role in the outcome of the game.
"When you concede a goal against the Champions-elect within three minutes then it makes an already difficult challenge doubly as difficult," he said.
"It was a real blow for us to be honest, and it took us a while to get over that and try to do the things that we had originally set out to do.
"After that, we huffed and puffed but truth be told we never really created enough opportunities to worry them, and that's disappointing.
"We will keep working, and we will keep looking ahead. More than anything we need that little bit of luck, and hopefully if we get that next weekend then we can get the result we want."