Jonathan Aspropotamitis believes Perth Glory can challenge for the A-League title this season.
The 2021-2022 A-League campaign kicks off next month, with Melbourne City looking to defend its crown.
Perth finished ninth last season, missing out of the finals, managing just nine wins in total from 26 matches.
Aspropotamitis concedes 2020-2021 was "disappointing", but is confident that with a host of new signings the Glory can be contenders.
"Yeah for sure, I’ve no doubt about that," he told FTBL.
"There were points last season where we really mixed it with the teams that were right up there.
"We beat Adelaide United, we beat Melbourne City, we drew at home with Sydney FC, we beat Brisbane Roar… we got results over them and now it’s just about doing it more on a consistent basis.
"The way we’re training, the messages that have sent out by the coaches, every single day has been eyeing that finals place and even higher up if we can as the intensity has been great. We’ve recruited so well and that’s what the quality in our squad deserves.
"Now it’s just about putting that work on the pitch and finding that level of consistency."
Perth have seen 10 players depart but welcomed seven new arrivals, including Socceroos Brad Jones and Brandon O'Neill, along with Aaron Calver, Jack Clisby and Spanish winger Adrian Sardinero.
"We’ve recruited really well," former Mariner and Wanderer Aspropotamitis said.
"We lost some key personell last year but we’ve recruited really well and filled those holes. The squad’s looking really good and we’re hoping to go that one bit further.
"Pre-season has been tough. We’ve been working hard but the coaches have been really mindful of not putting in too much, as it is such a long pre-season.
"The coaches have been careful not to load us up too much in training. They’ve been giving us a lot of mental breaks off, a lot of days off, but when we’re in working really hard and the intensity in training has been great. It’s been really good."
Perth started last season strongly, claiming four victories from its first six matches, but then fell away, before finishing the Covid-19-impacted campaign with just a single defeat from its final eight fixtures.
Ultimately it was not enough as the WA-based outfit was five points short of sixth-place.
Aspropotamitis, who only joined the club from Western United in 2020, described it as a "tough" season but feels the Glory are now better placed heading into next month.
"It was a tough season. We actually started really well.
"I think we took 12 points from our first 18 games, but it was always going to be a challenge for every single team in the league," the 25-year-old said.
"We had teams playing every two or three days, two or three games a week at some points, travel and all that.
"We felt ourselves we had a really really tough scehdule there and there was a lot of rotation in the team, a lot of chopping and changing with our training schedules, with our flights, with everything. So it was a tough one for us.
"To start the way we did was great, we had a bit of a bleak period in the middle of the season and we really came home strong in the end, but it was a little too late.
"But we took a lot of positives out of the back end of the season, and we can really take that forward into this season. We saw a lot of the younger guys stepping up as well. We had a few who really took their opportunity.
"There were some positive signs. It was disappointing to not make the finals and to finish higher up, considering the squad we had and the quality of players we had, but something to build on into this season and take that frustration into this year and hopefully use it to better on."