Shay Given has praised Mark Hughes for creating healthy competition for places at Manchester City.
The Irish goalkeeper has established himself as Hughes' number one following his move from Newcastle earlier this year but he still feels under pressure to perform.
Expectations have rocketed around Eastlands following a spending spree and Given is happy to be competing at the top end of the table.
He feels City can only improve as the new players start to knit together and work out how best to approach games.
"We have spent a lot of money and bought a lot of players, so there's pressure on the manager and on the players to perform - if you don't, you know they have the capability to replace you. There's pressure all round," Given told the Daily Mail.
"But you'd rather have that pressure than mid-table mediocrity. You want to push yourself.
"It will take time for us to gel, to get the balance, to attack as a team and defend as a team. We are working on it."
World Cup anger
Meanwhile, Given admits it has been difficult to get over the disappointment of losing in the World Cup play-offs with Republic of Ireland.
Thierry Henry's infamous handball helped knock out Ireland and Given has been infuriated by the reaction of the authorities to the whole controversy.
"I still feel angry about the whole thing," he fumed. "All the stuff from Fifa and Sepp Blatter - just rubbish.
"A couple of days ago Blatter said he'd spoken to Henry and how it wasn't his fault, it was the referee's. A couple of days on and Fifa say they're going to look into Henry.
"Blatter didn't have the decency to ring up our captain, Robbie Keane, and say, "I'm really sorry".
"Blatter's saying, "Oh, I've just spoken to Thierry and it's all OK". All the Irish players are sitting thinking, "Oh, well done, brilliant. Just rub more salt in the wound, why don't you?
"I can't get over it, I've had so many sleepless nights just thinking about it. And they show it on TV 20 times a day so it's hard to forget.
"I know we've to move on but then we'll get it again next year when the World Cup's on. It just beggars belief."