David Bentley is all too aware that we need to win the battle before being able to stamp our playing style on the game at Stoke on Sunday.
Renowned for their direct style, City stormed out of the traps with a 3-2 win in their first game at home against Aston Villa on their return to the top flight.
They've also picked up an impressive point at Anfield but have now gone five matches without a win in the Premier League.
It's well documented that we've yet to win our first game in league action and Sunday's televised clash at the Britannia Stadium seems the perfect place to start.
"They will be a difficult team to play against, they put a lot of balls into the box and they get about you - we have to be ready for that challenge," insisted David.
"We certainly won't underestimate them and we'll be fully prepared.
"We'll be going into the game in the right frame of mind and approaching it knowing we've got to win the battle first, if we don't, it will be difficult.
"In the Premier League there is rarely a game where you don't have to win the battle first but we know that Stoke will come at us, throw the ball into the box and we have to deal with that and go about it in the right way. We're all switched on to that."