Rory Delap believes the seeds of Stoke's survival push were sown in their first home game of the season.
The Potters secured their Premier League status with a 2-1 win at Hull City on Saturday, making a mockery of those that had condemned them to the drop before a ball had even been kicked.
Tony Pulis' side have proven more than capable of mixing it among England's elite and can now look forward to cementing their top-flight standing next term.
That is a prospect which excites Delap, who insists everyone at the Britannia Stadium believed avoiding relegation was possible after they came from behind to secure a 3-2 win over Aston Villa in just their second game of the campaign.
"It is a tremendous achievement for us to be safe with two games remaining. We didn't want to go to Arsenal on the last day, needing a win," said the midfielder.
"Everyone was telling us we were safe on 39 points but we were keen to get over the 40-point mark. To do so at Hull was something special. We were just glad to put it to bed, especially as a lot of people had written us off at the start of the season.
"After we lost our first game at Bolton, where we were pummelled (3-1), some bookies began paying out.
"But then we beat Aston Villa, coming from behind to get a winner so late on. that, if you like, was a turning point.
"To get our first win in the second game was great and we have built from there."