Joe Allen, Stoke’s second goalscorer against Cardiff, says there is no comparison between the club’s home form now and earlier in the season under Nathan Jones.
And Allen agrees that Stoke’s survival could hinge on the number of points they gather in their remaining five home games.
Stoke picked up just four points from seven home games under Jones, while under Michael O’Neill it is now 20 points from 10.
“Generally, home form is the key, whether you’re at the top end or the bottom end,” said Allen.
“Our home form is night and day different compared to the start of the season and bar the disappointment of the Preston defeat, I think we are making it very difficult for teams when they come here.
“We are getting a foothold in games, are looking far more resolute and are getting a few more goals than earlier in the season.
“So I think the belief is back and the crowd, the support, is great at the moment here and there seems to be a few numbers turning up and, as players, we are really grateful for that support.”
Stoke’s win over Cardiff came seven days after their turbulent loss at QPR – and with Jordan Thompson being shifted to an anchor role in front of his back four.
“It was just the response we needed,” Allen continued. “Going into this one, we were still hurting after the last result and performance, so we wanted to react and respond and we did that.
“A clean sheet and another win at home – our home form has improved dramatically in recent times – so a good day’s work.
“Great performance from him (Thompson). From minute one, I thought he played that role really well.
“I think since he’s signed we’ve seen the ability he’s got and he’s going to be a very good player for this club.
“It was great for him to come in and perform like that, particularly on a day when there was a bit of pressure on us to get result.”