Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon has warned the club is not going to leap from a scrap against relegation straight into the top four.
The 26-year-old Scotland international was a frustrated bystander because of injury as the Black Cats retained their Premier League status on the final day of last season despite a home defeat by Chelsea.
That was way below their expectations when they set out in August, and much better will be expected this time around with a new manager and, as Steve Bruce prepares to strengthen his squad, new players in place - but Gordon knows too that there is a need for patience as Bruce attempts to put his own mark on the club.
He said: "I think we have to say that last season was a bit of a disappointment. It wasn't where we were looking to be. We were hoping to push on and improve on our first season back in the Premier League. In the end, we scraped by and just managed to stay in the league, which wasn't what anybody at the club was looking for.
"The main thing is that from a bad situation, we managed to retain our status and we can now look to progress again, just like we wanted to do last season. We have got to do it this season.
"We have got to build things slowly. You can't just go from being a team that narrowly avoided relegation to qualifying for the Champions League. There are stages you have to go through. We will build slowly. We have got to be looking a fair bit higher in the league than we managed last season and look to improve on that over the coming years."