Huddersfield defender Christopher Schindler knows a third straight Premier League defeat on Saturday at Stoke would plunge his club into a relegation battle.
Paul Lambert takes charge of his first game for third-bottom Stoke, who sit four points behind Huddersfield in the table, and Schindler is geared for another pivotal encounter.
“It’s a very important game,” the German centre-half said. “I’m not the biggest fan of the dramatic phrases and stories before a game, but it’s a very important game for us.
“It’s a game where we have a lot to lose, but also a lot to win and that’s what is in our mindset.”
Lambert has been tasked with ensuring Stoke’s top-flight survival after replacing Mark Hughes on Monday.
The Potters have lost eight of their last 11 Premier League games and Schindler is wary of how their players will react to the former Norwich and Aston Villa boss taking over the reins.
“It can give good energy to a team. A few changes made, but it’s not automatically a good thing,” Schindler said.
“The new manager can change things and then the team is not ready. It’s something where we don’t know how it’s going to go.
“They are a good side and it’s a crucial game. When a team changes managers it’s important to focus on yourselves.”
Huddersfield’s January transfer window signings Terence Kongolo and Alex Pritchard could both make their first Premier League starts for the club.
Schindler believes their arrival is timely and expects them to make a big impression at the John Smith’s Stadium.
“They are both really good, high quality players with a lot of energy and that’s what we need. I’m really happy to have them around,” he said.
“Pritchy, you can see in training and also when he came on against West Ham that he makes something surprising happen, maybe one touch, with the backheel – it worked as well a couple of times.
“This is something we need for our offensive game to make it more unpredictable I think.
“Terence is really fast, a good technical player. Left-footed as well. He’s got lots of ability and experience for his age and that’s what we need in a difficult situation.”
Stoke could climb out of the bottom three to within a point of the Terriers with victory, but Schindler insists he pays little attention to the current standings.
“Not really. It kind of distracts from your plan and puts a lot of emotion in the week of training for example,” he added.
“I think that’s what we don’t need at the moment . We have to stay focused on the plan, we have to believe in the plan and in each other as well. That’s really important.”