Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam believes next Saturday's game at fellow strugglers QPR is a must-win match for the Potters.
City have picked up just five points since the turn of the year and won just once in their last seven games - a run that has left them 16th in the table, only three points above the relegation zone.
This has increased the need for Tony Pulis' side to earn three points from the game against Rangers, who are 19th and 10 points from safety.
"We need to go to QPR next week and win," said Adam. "They're in a bad position so it's probably going to be an edgy match but they're at home and if we can stop them in the first 15 or 20 minutes getting the crowd up then we can go there and get a victory.
"It's going to be tough but we need to show a bit of character. We've got the quality in the dressing room and we'll just hope for some kind of bounce between now and the end of the season."
Stoke were beaten 2-0 by league-leaders Manchester United on Sunday, with Michael Carrick prodding in after the hosts had failed to clear a corner, and Robin van Persie made sure of the points with a 66th-minute penalty.
"When you lose a goal after three minutes against the champions elect, it's going to be difficult," added 27-year-old Adam. It's going to be a difficult game as it is but to lose a goal so early was a blow.
"We huffed and puffed to try to get back into the game but we never really created much. They've got top players and that's what I was trying to say during the game. I think we rushed the game a little bit too much.
"With the wind behind us in the second half we had a couple of chances but probably not enough to warrant getting anything out of the game. That's the way it goes.
"It's a sore one to take but there's five games to go and we need a couple of victories.