Mark Hughes is confident Stoke City can build on an encouraging end to the 2013-14 season when they kick off the upcoming campaign.
Stoke broke new ground last term, securing a maiden top-half finish in the Premier League on the back of seven wins from their final 11 games.
An upturn in results was also accompanied by a more cultured style in the closing stages of the season, as Hughes sought to continue a gradual progression away from the more direct approach utilised by his predecessor, Tony Pulis.
After seeing Stoke defeat Real Betis 2-0 at the Britannia Stadium on Wednesday, Hughes expressed satisfaction with the development of a squad bolstered by the likes of Mame Biram Diouf and Bojan Krkic, who marked his home debut with a third goal in as many games.
"In the first half, I was really pleased with what we produced," said Hughes.
"We created a lot of good chances and it got a little fragmented in the second half, but that's usually the case when you make changes.
"Both goals were outstanding in different ways, but certainly the first goal [scored by Erik Pieters]. In terms of build-up play, picking the right pass at the right time and then picking the right person out to convert the chance - that was excellent play at any level.
"The more we play together, the more similar situations we'll create because we've got quality players on the pitch.
"We've got another game at the weekend [against Freiburg] and that will kick us on again, so we're in a good place at the moment."
New arrivals Diouf and Bojan each demonstrated their versatility against Betis by occupying central and wide roles as part of a fluid front three.
"I like my teams to be flexible in terms of their understanding of the tactics we're using," explained Hughes.
"If I change things halfway through a game I expect them to be able to understand very quickly because they're intelligent footballers."
The form of ex-Barcelona forward Bojan could well prompt heightened expectations at Stoke ahead of next weekend's Premier League opener against Aston Villa, yet that does not concern Hughes.
"We can't do anything about that, but if he continues to play well then we benefit from that and we win football matches," added the Stoke manager.
"If the focus on Bojan increases, that means we're doing well as a group as well. He's a quality player and people will talk about quality."
|Everton 1 Lyon 2: Koeman feeling the heat, while Williams brawl overshadows spectacle|
|AC Milan 0 AEK Athens 0: Frustration mounts for Montella in dour draw|
|Giroud promised special winner, Wenger reveals|
|Former Croatia striker Klasnic undergoes third kidney operation|
|Red Star Belgrade 0 Arsenal 1: Giroud´s special winner lights up drab encounter|
|Shakespeare: Leicester will ´pull away´ from Premier League danger|
|Robben yet to hold talks over new Bayern Munich contract|
|Bilic denies West Ham have discipline problem|
|Benteke progressing ´ahead of schedule´|
|Ancelotti to Leicester unlikely, says Clement|
|Dyche not aware of any approach amid Leicester speculation|
|I love you, take my watch! – How Arnautovic earned a special gift from Mourinho|
|´Surprised´ Appleton calls for Foxes focus after Shakespeare sacking|
|Brighton boss Hughton feels ´unacceptable´ behaviour remains in football|
|Benzema ´very happy´ at Real Madrid amid Arsenal rumours|
|Azpilicueta admits to low mood in Chelsea camp|
|Bacca: I played for the worst AC Milan in history|
|Aluko ´100 per cent´ in England contention, says interim boss|
|Injured Napoli striker Milik hints at loan move|
|Dortmund not expecting Reus exit|
|Neymar plans to emulate Messi by mentoring Mbappe|
|Mourinho still unclear on fitness of Pogba and Fellaini|
|Heynckes happy with Muller form|
|Kane describes Ronaldo as ´role model´ following shirt swap|
|PSG star Mbappe: Monaco need time|
|I have full support of Everton board, claims Koeman|
|Wilshere: Arsenal´s character can´t be questioned|
|No-one can compete with Messi – Bartomeu|
|Man United risk losing identity under Mourinho – Bellamy|
|Valverde hopes Messi scores 200th European goal this season|
|Stop worrying about Chelsea – Conte hits back at Mourinho|
|Roma better than Chelsea, says Nainggolan|
|Basel coach Wicky demands more focus|
|Heynckes calls for patience from Bayern´s reserve stars|
|Emery calls for PSG improvement despite perfect start|
|Pique handball instinctive, says Barcelona boss Valverde|
|Dzeko was born to score – Di Francesco|
|Lemonis rues Olympiacos collapse against 10-man Barca|
|Rodgers: Individual class inhibiting Celtic|
|David Luiz experiment failed, admits Conte|
|Allegri not impressed despite crucial win|
|Svilar risks a lot – Mourinho was aware of Benfica youngster´s shortcomings|
|We played better against Atletico – Hazard|
|Job done for Mbappe and PSG after another big win|
|Simeone maintains ´absolute´ belief in Atletico despite Qarabag draw|
|CSKA Moscow 0 Basel 2: Xhaka, Oberlin do the damage|
|Juventus 2 Sporting CP 1: Late Mandzukic intervention saves wasteful Bianconeri|
|Bayern Munich 3 Celtic 0: Hoops outclassed on Heynckes´ return to Europe|
|Chelsea 3 Roma 3: Hazard brace rescues Conte´s men after Dzeko double|
|Anderlecht 0 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Mbappe takes one record as Cavani closes on another|
|Barcelona 3 Olympiacos 1:Ton-up for Messi as Pique sees red|
|Benfica 0 Manchester United 1: Rashford goal settles poor game after woeful Svilar error|
|Messi joins Ronaldo in European 100-goal club|
|Good results are on the way in the league - Salah|
|Algeria restore Madjer to the helm|
|Griezmann eyes qualification despite Atleti´s Qarabag stumble|
|FA chief Glenn denies Aluko´s ´bordering on blackmail´ claim|
|Mbappe surpasses Kluivert as Champions League´s highest-scoring teenager|
|Ozil is a warrior - Pires sympathises with Arsenal star|
|Benfica teen Svilar breaks Casillas´ Champions League record against Man Utd|
|Balotelli can improve even more - Favre|
|It was special to face role model Modric, says Winks|
|Robben named for Champions League century|
|You can´t question Arsenal´s character - Wenger hits back at Deeney|
|Qarabag 0 Atletico Madrid 0: Simeone´s side in trouble after shock draw|
|Guardiola´s Catalonia stance dismissed by Spanish minister|
|Oldham appoint Wellens over Scholes, Seedorf|
|FA apologises over Sampson remarks to Aluko and Spence|
|Montella willing to accept ´exaggerated´ Milan criticism|
|Napoli confirm Insigne adductor strain|
|Urawa Reds 1 Shanghai SIPG 0 (2-1 agg): Rafael Silva books Al Hilal decider|
|Not a tragedy if Italy miss World Cup, says Zola|
|Hummels: Bayern players contributed to Ancelotti´s sacking|
|Dzeko considers Chelsea among Champions League contenders|
|Cavani doesn´t need to be friends with Neymar|
|Ozil and Sanchez committed to Arsenal, Mertesacker claims|
|Don´t stress it - De Bruyne relaxed over initial Man City contract talks|
|Nagelsmann´s path will lead to Bayern, says Heynckes|
|Stones satisfied with strong Manchester City showing|
|Redknapp: Spurs boss Pochettino could manage Real Madrid|
|That will be hard to beat – Klopp revels in record win|
|Spurs showed they can compete with elite - Pochettino proud after Madrid draw|
|Ballon d´Or? We all know Messi is best, says Valverde|
|He´s getting better – Zidane backs Benzema|
|Napoli star Insigne unsure if he´ll be fit to face Inter|
|Manchester City can win Champions League, says Napoli boss Sarri|
|Berizzo plotting Sevilla´s revenge after Spartak Moscow humiliation|
|Porto boss Conceicao defends Casillas omission|
|We know it´s difficult now, admits Dortmund boss Bosz|
|It´s tough but it´s not over - Van Bronckhorst|
|Monaco know it will be difficult to qualify now, says Sidibe|
|I don´t know what happened - Sarri bemused by Napoli´s slow start|
|We are growing consistently, insists upbeat Zidane|