Perth Glory must deal with the burden of high expectations after last season's powerful surge to the A-League grand final, coach Ian Ferguson said.
Glory started pre-season training on Monday, less than two months after suffering the heartbreak of a last-grasp 2-1 loss to Brisbane Roar in the championship decider.
And the coach who saw his dream of leading Glory to its first championship evaporate with striker Besart Berisha's controversial double said he expected a tough season ahead.
"There is always going to be high expectations on us this season," Ferguson said.
"There has always been a lot of pressure on Perth Glory because obviously it's a big club and for many years in the national league it was the benchmark of our game.
"Reaching the grand final restored a lot of pride and passion within the club and its fans."
But with the expectation comes the obligation and Ferguson said that he was determined to make Glory a regular championship contender.
"Since the league started I think Perth made the finals only once so now it is up to us to be regular top six contenders," he said.
”I don't want us to be a yo-yo club but one that is consistent and makes the finals every year because if you do that you raise your aspirations and you start winning things.
"That is where we want to be.
"We want to bring the stability and belief back in the club."
Perth has lost Chris Coyne, Victor Sikora, Scott Neville, Todd Howarth, Josh Mitchell and Andrezinho in the off-season.
But it has more than compensated by signing Nick Ward from Wellington Phoenix, Scott Jamieson from Sydney FC, Adrian Zahra from Melbourne Heart and Michael Thwaite and Chris Harold from defunct Gold Coast United.
"We've lost a few players but gained some others and we have brought the age gap right down," Ferguson explained.
"I'd like to think that we'll have greater energy and mobility this season which is something I have been looking for for a while.
"To be honest I don't think the squad has as much depth and experience as in previous years but we have some young talent with huge potential.
"Harold is an outstanding talent and so is Zahra.
”Ward is a type of player who can get from box to box.
"And Thwaite and Jamieson can play out from the back too.
"At times last year I would have liked us to play out from the back a bit more but we could not do it because players were not comfortable with it so Thwaite and Jamieson should come in handy because they are good on the ball.
"We do want to improve and it is my job as a coach to try and do that.
"I'm reasonably happy with a very good squad - bearing in mind there have been budgets cuts at the club - and I'm looking forward to the season.
"But only time will tell if the changes we made will make us a better team."