Stoke suffered an opening-day defeat by Wolves and Etherington believes they could be in big trouble if they do not bounce back against Spurs.
He said: “We’ve another tough match against Chelsea coming up so it really is a baptism of fire. There’s a real fear we could go three games without a point and then you worry about relegation.
“If you take your foot off the gas for one minute you’re in trouble.
“Training has been very sharp and tackles are flying in because the players are angry after Saturday.
“You don’t get that at many clubs, but the lads are still hurting.”