Sale Sharks centre Sam Tuitupou has backed his side to finish in the top half of the Premiership table come the end of this season.
The Sharks lie fifth overall at present, having won three of their opening five games, after last year's long and gruelling struggle to avoid relegation.
"If we can win our home games and pick up a few away wins, we can push for that top six," Tuitupou told the BBC.
"We had one hiccup against Newcastle, but it's those games that you learn from and try and improve on."
While Sale were beaten narrowly by the Falcons at home in the first round of fixtures, and lost to a Northampton Saints side many expect to challenge for the title, wins over Gloucester, London Wasps and Bath have seen them secure a very respectable league placing so far.
With dogged defence a notable feature in their 19-13 victory over Bath last week, Tuitupou credited newly-appointed defensive coach Mike Forshaw - a former Great Britain rugby league international - with improving that aspect of the Sharks' play.
"If we're not winning the tackle, we're there to slow the ball down," said the 31-year-old New Zealand international.
"It makes it a lot easier for our defence to set up for the next phase and get the line speed up. It's been a big plus and hopefully we can carry on the way we've been going."