KENWYNE JONES believes Stoke City's 'incredible spirit' should never be called into question . . . after they produced a stunning second half comeback against Southampton to extend their unbeaten Premier League run to ten games.
The Potters looked to be heading for their first defeat at the Britannia Stadium since February at the halfway stage, as strikes from Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez and an unfortunate Andy Wilkinson own goal had fired the Saints into a 3-1 lead.
However, Matthew Upson halved the deficit midway through the second period, before Cameron Jerome rifled home a 25-yard strike in the final minute to earn the hosts a thoroughly-deserved point in an enthralling final game of 2012.
Speaking to stokecityfc.com, Jones, who netted for the third successive home match during the encounter, said that he and his team-mates always maintained the belief that they could drag themselves back into the game.
"We have a spirit here which can never be questioned - in fact, we don't really like to talk about it anymore because it's just standard for us to keep going right until the last kick of the game," said the Trinidad and Tobago international.
"At no point in time did we ever think that we were going to lose the game today - It was just a matter of us coming out in the second half and getting the first goal, and then if we did that, going on to grab the second goal.
"Thankfully, we were able to do that, and that is down to the spirit and determination we have. We are proud professional footballers and we know what this Football Club is all about, so we always keep going until the game is over."
He added: "This is our job, and at no point are we ever going to just stand there and accept defeat. If we go on to lose the game, then we have to accept that, but whilst the game is still going on we will always give everything we have to get something from the game, and that will always be the case."
Attentions now turn towards the New Year's Day clash against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, and Jones says the players can take a great amount of confidence into that encounter with them having ended 2012 with their unbeaten run still intact.
"We are doing well, and we have been solid over the past few months or so," he smiled. "For that, you have to give credit to the team, the fans and the manager, because we are all in this together, and we stand together as one big group.
"Obviously we wanted to win the game today, but getting the point in the way that we have done, and extending our unbeaten run in the process, gives us a lot of confidence going into the Manchester City game.
"The next game is always the most important one, so we will dust ourselves down, get back on to the training pitch and get ready to go to the home of the Champions next week. We will go there and give it a go, for sure!"