There are all kinds of methods for dealing with the excruciating pressure building up in the race to claim one of the three £50m prizes up for grabs in the Championship promotion contest. The mental issues are now just as vital as the physical ones and Liam Lawrence is all in favour of a good old-fashioned tongue-lashing from Tony Pulis, rather than the reverse psychology being used by his manager.
Pulis appears to have diverted from his usual approach, by soothing his players' fever with a claim that they can afford to lose "two or three" of their remaining games and still win promotion.
Lawrence ensured that one of those freebies was not used with the fortunate penalty equaliser, via the post and the head of Burnley's goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly, to prevent a damaging third straight defeat in a week for Stoke and, if they are to retain their current second place, the midfielder wants no more Mr Cool from Pulis.
"Maybe the gaffer is trying to get us to relax a little, but it is not for me. A bit of a rollicking would be better. I think some of us need a kick up the backside, because we have to start winning again," Lawrence said.
Burnley had every right to lose their sanity over the last-minute award of the penalty by Howard Webb for John Harley's innocuous foul on Richard Cresswell, after defending Kyle Lafferty's third-minute goal. "It is a real kick in the teeth and hard to accept, but it will make us stronger," said the Burnley midfielder James O'Connor.
They might not have forfeited three points in such a fashion if Adi Akinbiyi had converted the simplest of chances soon after Lafferty's goal and only victory over Charlton tomorrow will suffice if Owen Coyle's side are to retain their play-off interest.
Goals: Lafferty (3) 0-1; Lawrence pen (90) 1-1.
Stoke City (4-4-2): Nash; Griffin, Riggott, Cort, Pugh; Lawrence, Diao (Parkin 84), Delap, Cresswell; Sidibe (Gallagher 70), Fuller. Substitutes not used: Simonsen, Shawcross, Wilkinson.
Burnley (4-4-2): Kiraly; Alexander, Carlisle, Varga, Harley; Elliott, James O'Connor, Randall (Mahon 63), Lafferty (Spicer 78); Blake, Akinbiyi (Cole 81). Substitutes not used: Jensen, Unsworth.
Referee: H Webb (S Yorkshire).
Booked: Stoke Diao, Cresswell, Lawrence; Burnley Lafferty, Harley.
Man of the match: Lawrence.
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