Sunderland manager Steve Bruce believes his side have the necessary muscle to be able to compete in the Premier League this season.
Bruce, 48, has strengthened his squad this summer and believes his side are now better equipped for the physical test of top-flight football.
"One thing I've learned about the Premier League is that it's big, strong and aggressive," he told BBC Newcastle.
"We have to compete with that and I've tried to add so the spine is stronger."
Bruce's summer signings have seen Frazier Campbell and Darren Bent join from Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur to bolster the club's forward line.
Midfield strengthening has come in the shape of Wigan's Lee Cattermole and Marseille skipper Lorik Cana, while Paraguayan defender Paulo Da Silva has arrived from Mexican side Toluca.
However, despite the transfer activity and optimism on Wearside, Bruce is keen to manage expectations ahead of the new season.
And he believes it will take time for the Black Cats to break into the established ranks of the Premier League.
"For the next five or six years, we've got to become an established Premier League team, until you can get that
consistency and get away from being in the bottom six, but it's difficult to do," he said.
"You know who the top four are going to be, and then for me you've got Manchester City, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Everton, who are going to be possibly the top eight.
"We've got to aim to be the next one below them, who've been established and proven over the last 15 years, and they keep improving, that's why the Premier League is so daunting."