Roberto Mancini insists missing out on fourth spot this season would not make Manchester City's season a failure.
The Blues have, from the outset, made it clear that UEFA Champions League qualification is their target this year.
With substantial investment pumped into the club by a demanding board, success needs to be delivered sooner rather than later.
City also switched managers mid-season, replacing Mark Hughes with Mancini, in an effort to aid their quest for a top-four finish.
Mancini is well aware of the expectations placed on his shoulders, but insists the season should still be held in a positive light even if they miss out on their ultimate goal.
"No, I don't think I will have failed," he said when asked if he would be judged on his ability to secure a seat at European football's top table.
"We want to finish fourth and that is what we are working for.
"But we have improved a lot in the last five months and we must improve more if we want to be a good team. I think the owners can see that."
Mancini is also confident that he will be able to take City even further next season, playing down any suggestion that he could be tempted to head back to Italy over the summer.
"When you work with a team in pre-season it is easier to do your job," he said.
"I imagine I will still be Manchester City manager. I hope so. I have a contract. I don't decide but I think I will be."
Reports suggesting players such as Emmanuel Adebayor, Wayne Bridge and Shaun Wright-Phillips will be offloaded over the summer have also been played down, with Mancini adamant he has made no decision on potential sales.
"I never said that," he said on the mounting speculation regarding possible departures.
"I have had meetings with the club about players for the future but I never said there were players I did not want."