Aston Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov has admitted Martin O'Neill's summer spending spree means everyone is fighting for their place.
The Villa boss spent £48million before the transfer window closed with the aim of improving on last season's sixth place Premier League finish.
Now the strength of Villa's squad will be put to the test with a gruelling schedule of seven games in just 21 days - starting with the Monday night clash against Tottenham.
And Petrov feels that players, including himself, have no other option but to play for their shirts every single week.
"I think we have more balance in the team now but with the competition, you need to be on the top of your game," the Bulgaria international said.
"If you are not on top of your game, then you are out, simple as that. I think the extra competition has given me and everyone else a shove to improve.
"You know now that every bad game could cost you your place so everyone is working hard and you are trying to be prepared as well as you can be for each game."
The former Celtic star is also enjoying his new role as a more defensive midfielder, having been known as a consistent goalscorer for the Scottish giants.
He added: "I scored a lot of goals at Celtic. Here I play a different position, I am more backward (defensive). I enjoy that role.
"It is always good to score but we have enough people to score goals. The main thing is winning the games and playing well."
After recovering from a calf injury new £7.8million signing Carlos Cuellar could make his Villa bow against Spurs along with £12million capture James Milner.