Fulham boss Kit Symons has taken a share of the blame for last season’s poor performances in the Championship following relegation from the Premier League.
Symons took over in September after the Cottagers had failed to win in any of their opening eight matches - picking up one point from a possible 21 under Felix Magath before his eventual sacking.
The 44-year-old oversaw an upturn in form as Fulham won 10 of their next 20 matches to clamber away from the relegation zone.
The Whites’ form dipped in the second half of the season, where they won two games in 16 between the end of January and mid-April - a pattern which Symons held his hands up to.
“I take responsibility for stuff last year,” he said after being quizzed on having time to transform Magath's team into his own. “I took over, I stepped in and it was my team then.”
But having played a part in two promotion parties for Fulham in 1999 and 2001, Symons knows it requires a strong team unity to get the string of results required for the top six.
And the Welsh boss sees reason for optimism ahead of the season opener with Cardiff on Saturday, after drawing parallels between the side which won promotion all those years ago and the squad today.
He added: “The team spirit in pre-season has been brilliant and the boys have been digging in.
"We’ve got some real quality talented footballers, but they’re willing to work hard for the team as well.
“That’s the big thing. I had a couple of promotions playing for Fulham and on both occasions the team spirit was tremendous, just the work ethic - people putting the team first instead of themselves.
“If you can get that - and that’s what we’re starting to get now, the spirit in pre-season has been brilliant - then I think you have a great chance.”