Stoke midfielder Rory Delap believes the club's success in retaining their top flight status stems from the first home game of the season.
Following the opening day defeat by Bolton they launched a rousing fightback to overcome Aston Villa thanks to Mamady Sidibe's winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Delap said: "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."
Stoke kicked on from that special night at the Britannia Stadium and victory at Hull last Saturday means they will again be hosting Premier League football next season.
Delap added: "Everyone was telling us we were safe on 39 points but we were keen to get over the 40-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 we pummelled, 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."
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