Dietmar Hamann has warned Manchester City supporters not to place unrealistic expectations on the players.
With the club having recently rocketed to the top of football's rich list in the wake of a takeover from the Abu Dhabi United Group, talk has already turned to UEFA Champions League qualification in the immediate future.
However, the Blues currently sit tenth in the Premier League and have taken just one point from their last three fixtures.
Former Germany international Hamann accepts that much will be expected of Mark Hughes' men over the next few seasons, but believes breaking the top four monopoly which exists in England cannot be achieved overnight.
"Rubbish has been written about the Champions League, we have got to start winning games and see where we are at Christmas and then set targets of where we should finish," the veteran midfielder told the Manchester Evening News.
"People have got carried away with looking at the players we have got and there still is a long way to go yet. If you look the top four or five teams and then look at us at the moment then there is still a bigger gap than people think.
"My expectations are not that high because I know what we have got and what we haven't got. Obviously, if people want to dream that we are going to win the league and win the Champions League in the next one or two years, then let them think that because it is an exciting time for the fans, but we have got to keep our feet on the floor.
"I have played the game long enough to know what to expect and we just have to put in the hard work and play and defend as a team.
"If we do that we could have a bright future and if we don't then we will have disappointing results."
There is a possibility that Hamann will not be around to help City fulfil their lofty aspirations, with his current deal at Eastlands set to expire at the end of the season.
He believes he is still capable of competing at the highest level, but admits he has allowed his thoughts to drift towards a coaching role.
"We will see how it pans out for me personally - it is a long season and we have a big squad. I am just taking it game by game," he said.
"I am still enjoying my football. I am still looking at games through a player's eye but sometimes I think as a coach and what I might have done."