Potters boss Tony Pulis managed to light Glen Roeder's fuse in no uncertain terms at the end of a fractious afternoon out in the Potteries.
Seven bookings – one of which will see Canary midfielder Darel Russell suspended for the home clash with Sheffield United this Saturday – and a red for Pulis himself as he was banished to the stands for contesting a loud, second-half penalty appeal against City's stand-in right-back Gary Doherty, set the tone for the two Press conferences that followed.
Roeder's mood was not helped by the sight of Richard Cresswell finding enough space in the Canary six-yard box to smash home a 89th minute winner. Almost inevitably, Stoke's killer second came from yet another set-play.
The Norwich boss had long warned that it wouldn't be a day for total football at the Britannia; sure enough, a goal down at the interval to Darren Huckerby's fifth minute strike, everything bar the kitchen sink rained into the Canary box for the next 45 minutes.
Twice their concentration and their new-found resolve lapsed – all that it needed for Pulis to claim the victory spoils and to successfully push a few of Roeder's buttons. Particularly when he claimed that the Potters could, if not should, have won “by five or six goals”.
Roeder's memorable response later. First, Pulis' own version of events.
“If you look at the opportunities and the chances that we created – Liam Lawrence went round the back of them three times – and all with balls across the face of goal.
“And they're there just to be tapped in,” said Pulis. Which was all fair enough. Apart from the fact that there wasn't a Stoke player there to tap the ball in and, in fairness, Lee Croft managed to wriggle in behind the Potters back line on a similar number of occasions in the first-half.
It did, however, require a wonderful stop from Canary keeper David Marshall to deny a combination of Dion Dublin and the giant Mamady Sidibe before the interval to ensure that Huckerby's goal remained the difference between the two teams.
“The keeper's made an unbelieveable save off a header; Ricardo's hit one just over the bar,” said Puils, now warming to his theme.
“I'll say this – and I really do mean it – we went a goal down and after that goal we could have won this game by five or six goals.
“And if we had, I'd be stood here now and I wouldn't have looked embarrassed. Because we out-battled them, out-worked them and we out-played them.
“Forget anything else – that's how dominant I thought we were today. We were that dominant. Forget all the bits and pieces; that's how I've seen the game – that one-sided.”
Pulis did, at least, admit that Roeder's tactical switch to 4-5-1 did catch them unawares.
In came Matty Pattison into a midfield three to partner ex-Potters old-boy Russell and Mark Fotheringham; out to the left went Huckerby; out to the right went Croft.
Five minutes of the game gone and lone striker Dion Dublin flicks the ball perfectly on into Huckerby's path and having drifted in off the left flank and behind a stranded Leon Cort, the 32-year-old Canary favourite makes no mistake – and all with his weaker left-foot, too.
Advantage Roeder, tactically.
“I was surprised that they came and played with just one up front,” the former Gillingham and Plymouth boss conceded.
“That surprised us. They'd had a couple of good results playing 4-4-2 and I was surprised that they just played Dion up there by himself.
“And they caught us flat; got the goal,” said Pulis, who clearly told his players to get back to basics after the break.
“As I said to the players at half-time, just keep going – don't change anything; keep going,” said Pulis, insisting that his team wasn't just about heaving the ball skyward at every occasion.
“We cut them to bits at times,” he claimed.
Given the physical onslaught that a trip to the Britannia brings, the sight of Pulis rolling out Jon Parkin as a second-half subsitute – the same Jon Parkin that once reported back to pre-season training at Hull City weighing in at 17 stone – you know exactly what is about to follow.
And it duly did. That said, Dublin still hooked a Huckerby cross goalward; substitute Ched Evans produced a glorious flick over Ryan Shawcross only to smash his Gazza-like moment over the bar. It wasn't wholly one-way traffic after the break, either.
The question was posed as to whether Pulis had seen suggestions from the Norfolk end that the Potters were 'direct' in their approach – remarks that Pulis assumed had come from the top.
“I'm quite happy that he thinks that,” said the Stoke chief. “Did it upset me? No, not at all.
“I think if you came here for QPR on Tuesday.. We out-played QPR as well.
“But I like it when people think we're just a one dimensional team. Because it gives us a lot more space to play,” said Pulis, returning to his original theme for one last time.
“And like I say, we out-worked them, we out-battled them, we out-played them today. And I don't care what anyone else says. That was the bottom line.
“We deserved to win that game by five or six goals today. And that was the disappointing thing today – we should have been cruising. Not waiting for Crazy (Cresswell) to score late.”