Coaching consultant Gerry Francis believes Stoke still need to establish themselves in the top flight and is targeting a top-half finish.
Francis, who joined the Potters following their promotion to the Premier League in 2008, does not think Tony Pulis' side can count themselves as a true Premier League side until they finish in the top half of the table.
Stoke are 12th after seven games and Francis told The Sentinel:
"It's the hardest league in the world to stay in. There's been a lot of teams over the years that have come up and gone down again."
"It's going to be even tougher this year. Every year we have to try and improve."
"It's not true to say we are established because we haven't finished in the top half of the table yet."