Craig Gordon is hoping to help Sunderland realise their dream of European qualification this season.
The ambitious North East club established themselves as a Premier League outfit last term and are now looking to build on that platform.
With a number of fresh faces added over the summer, and with countless international stars now plying their trade at Stadium of Light, Gordon believes the club possess the necessary credentials to become a top-five side.
"We're all trying to get to the next level, the manager has challenged us and I know I've got to raise my game if we're going to get Sunderland challenging for a European spot, which is where we want to be," the Scotland international told The Northern Echo.
"It will take time, but we are determined to improve as a team, work hard and finish as high up this league as we can - I think Europe is a realistic target.
"I still regard it as a great honour to play for my country.
"For me it's the greatest honour you can get as a player. I love playing for Sunderland of course, but to play for Scotland is special.
"Maybe the quality is better in league games because the players in the Premier League are some of the best from all over the world, while some international games are against smaller countries.
"But international games are great experience for me and with Scotland you've got five million fans watching you, which adds to the pressure."
Meanwhile, Graham Kavangh has admitted he would welcome the opportunity to join Carlisle on a full-time basis.
The midfielder is currently on a one-month loan with the Cumbrians but, with his Sunderland contract due to expire in the summer, admits his future is likely to lie away from the Black Cats.
"I certainly wouldn't be averse to signing permanently for Carlisle but it is early days," he said.
"I'm here for a month and we'll discuss it again, presumably, in three weeks, and see what happens. It has been mentioned it could be longer.
"My contract is up at Sunderland in the summer so we'll see what happens.
"Joining Carlisle is a chance to get my name back out there."