Sale Sharks captain Jono Ross is confident his side can build on the achievements of last season but wants to ensure they do not get carried away.
The Sharks were crowned Premiership Rugby Cup champions last season, their first piece of silverware in 14 years, but had a disappointing end to the 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership season, missing out on the play-offs due to a COVID-19 outbreak in their camp.
Despite falling short last campaign of what could have been, it is clear in the rugby union world that Sale are definitely on the up, but Ross wants his teammates to remain level-headed.
Ross said: “We’ve spoken quite a lot about the expectations of us, but also not getting ahead of ourselves.
“This is a highly competitive competition and every team can beat each other.”
Despite being up there as favourites to be challenging the likes of Exeter Chiefs come the end of the season, the South African wants to go into games with the mindset that they are the underdogs.
“We’ve got to prepare like we are the underdogs, I think we play the best when we’re in that position.
“With the quality of players now, every team is coming out to win.
“There is external pressure, but there’s also massive internal pressure from the players as well because we know it doesn’t just happen,” Ross added.
There has been a lot of talk on whether last season’s disappointment will be fuel for the fire for the Sale camp this year, but Ross wants to move past that upset and focus on what is to come.
“I think it’s something we’ve got to move past pretty quickly. The new season has come on to us quicker than any other season ever has.
“We’ve got to prepare well, live in the moment and make sure every day that we are improving.”
Sale Sharks face off against Newcastle Falcons this Friday evening in the second round of the Gallagher Premiership at Kingston Park Stadium, with kick-off at 19:45 BST.