Craig Hignett thinks Hartlepool United have "a massive way to go" to turn themselves from National League also-rans, into top end fifth tier contenders.
Pools finished their second season in the National League in 17th place, two spots worse off than their return in the 2017/18 season.
As a result there has been a certain degree of negativity around the Super 6 Stadium, with many expecting at least a top half finish, especially after Pools' blistering start to the campaign.
That is a feeling shared by manager Hignett, who feels the road to redemption could well be a long one.
Reflecting back on his feelings on last season, the Pools boss said: "A bit up and down really, I think we’ve had a lot of ups and downs.
"A lot of changes took place in the season, especially on the managing front.
"I still think we’ve got a massive way to go before we are anywhere near where we want to be."
Hignett gets the criticism, at times, from the terraces. He's feeling it, too.
"I understand the frustrations of some fans, who see performances one week and next week they might not. I understand all of that," he said.
"They have to understand where we are as a club."
Meanwhile, Hignett has revealed that chairman Raj Singh spent more money than he'd have hoped for last season, which could have a knock on impact on his budget for 2019/20.
"Off the pitch I think it’s gone as well as it could have done," he said.
"The chairman has spent a lot of money, probably more than he thought he was going to so that’s going to have a knock on effect."