Middlesbrough might be up where they want to be – but Aitor Karanka says they must keep improving if they are to stay there.
Three wins in a row have lifted Boro to second place in the Sky Bet Championship going into tomorrow’s televised game at Nottingham Forest (12.15pm).
Even if they win at their bogey ground, it will not be enough to overtake Brighton at the top.
But Karanka points out that any dropped points at the City Ground would mean they would slip down the table.
And the head coach insists they must build on their current run rather than bask in the success.
“We can’t think we have done anything yet,” said the Spaniard. “There are so many teams within one or two points of us.
“We have to keep working – if we don’t win or we draw (tomorrow) we are going to go down the table.
“We are playing well now but we still have to improve.
“We have to be focused.
“We all know how difficult and how long this league is.”
Karanka does acknowledge the class of 2015-16 is better than last season.
“I hope so because last season it wasn’t enough,” he said.
“We need to be stronger.
“We have more experience this season, we have better players and if we need something from the bench, we have that too.
“With the quality we have this season, I think we are going to score goals.”
Such is the tight nature of the Championship, Forest are just three points behind Boro yet are down in ninth place.
Dougie Freedman’s side have recovered from a sticky start and the transfer of winger Michail Antonio to win back-to-back away matches at QPR and Birmingham.
“They have lost Antonio who was a massive player for them,” said Karanka, who is full of respect for Forest.
“But they are now more compact, they are a strong team, they defend really well and they have good players up front who can hurt you.
“Forest are playing well, it is going to be a very difficult game.
“We need to go there thinking it’s going to be a very tough match.”