Rory Delap has hailed manager Tony Pulis for the team-talk that inspired Stoke to a stirring fightback against Aston Villa.
The Potters recovered from a 1-0 half-time deficit to win 2-1 in Monday night's clash and record their first points of the season.
Pulis spent the day with family in south Wales following the death of his mother and arrived back at the Britannia Stadium just after kick-off.
The Stoke boss did not take his place on the touchline until the start of the second half, though, after delivering a stern assessment of his side's first-half performance.
The Potters then secured victory with two goals in the last 10 minutes by Kenwyne Jones and Robert Huth, and Delap admitted Pulis' presence was a major factor.
The Stoke midfielder even admitted that few expected the 52-year-old boss to be able to stay away.
"I thought he'd have to come and have his say," he said.
"I don't think anyone was too surprised he turned up because everyone knows the character of the man.
"We should be able to do without him but great credit to him for turning up. I think the half-time talk was what we needed.
"That's why these people are successful managers. He knows when to say the right things and what to say and that was the case last night. It showed he proved his point in the way we played in the second half.
"He's not the first to give the lads a lashing at half-time and he won't be the last," Delap added. "Sometimes it's the kick up the backside you need.
"He swore a lot but he always does - and he's not called me anything I've not heard before."
Stoke's second-half comeback also meant they avoided their worst-ever start to a league season after losing their three opening Premier League games.
"It was a must-win game," said Delap. "I think that's probably a big reason why he turned up and came into the dressing room at half-time.
"I think in the end we deserved the win - it should kick our season off now."