Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan feels that his team are stronger in the new campaign after fighting relegation last term.
Paul Lambert's men survived the drop by just five points in May, after earning seven from their last five matches and they have already got 2013-14 off to a strong start.
Villa have faced three of last season's top seven in their opening Premier League fixtures, but have three points to show for their efforts, after a stunning 3-1 victory at Arsenal on the opening day.
Narrow defeats by the odd goal to Chelsea and Liverpool have followed and Guzan is convinced his side can forget about the drop this season.
"I think it’s massive and evident to see the change," he said.
"Do I think we are in a better position to compete and go and win games? Yes.
"Our performances over the last week against top teams are a credit to what the manager and the coaching staff have done in terms of changes.
"Not just on the pitch but the atmosphere and camaraderie in the dressing room and at the training ground.
"That is important because when you go through difficult times on the pitch you have to be willing to fight for each other."