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Pieters makes points the Potters’ priority

A Potters penalty miss saw them lose out on maximum points.

Erik Pieters has emphasised the need for Stoke to back up the “100 per cent” conviction they can survive in the Premier League with the points that prove it.

The Staffordshire outfit, who had a late penalty saved as they drew 1-1 at home with Brighton on Saturday, are 19th in the table, two points and an inferior goal difference adrift of safety.

They have what Potters defender Pieters has described as 11 “finals” left to play.

When asked if Stoke have enough talent to get out of trouble, the Dutchman said: “Yeah, yeah. But the only thing you need is points.

“There are still 33 points to play for, and we believe 100 per cent we can stay up.”

He added: “You can say, ‘Listen, we’re going to be OK, we’re going to be OK’. The moment we are out of the relegation zone, the moment we are safe, then you can say, ‘It’s over’.

“It’s simple. I can make a beautiful story for you guys, but we are there, and we have to get out of it.

“We have the talent, we have the group, we have players to get out of there, but we have to do it.”

A dramatic finale to Saturday’s game saw Paul Lambert’s hosts awarded a 90th-minute spot-kick.

There were heated exchanges over who would take it, with Jese Rodriguez, who had won the penalty, complaining in particularly animated fashion that it should be him, before fellow substitute Charlie Adam saw his effort parried by Seagulls goalkeeper Mathew Ryan.

Jese, who is on a season-long loan from Paris St Germain and scored his only goal to date for Stoke on debut in August, was making his first appearance since November.

He had last featured in the matchday squad as an unused substitute in the win over Swansea on December 2, when he left early after then-boss Mark Hughes made his final two changes, and that led to the Spanish forward being disciplined.

Jese has had personal problems throughout this term having made frequent trips to the Canary Islands following the premature birth of his son Nyan.

Pieters said of the way Jese had acted after the penalty was given: “It’s pure emotion.

“Don’t forget this guy has had a really tough, tough season. And the moment there is a penalty and a striker can score, you want to take that ball and score. I can completely understand.

“Of course, it’s gone a little bit too far, but in my opinion it is emotion and it is part of the game. Everyone worked hard so everyone wanted to be that hero.”

Pieters also stressed that after the game there was “no problem” between Jese and Adam.

Stoke had drawn level through Xherdan Shaqiri’s 68th-minute strike after Chris Hughton’s Brighton, who have three more points than Lambert’s men, opened the scoring via a fine Jose Izquierdo goal in the 32nd minute.

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