Stoke City midfielder Charlie Adam believes the club's next eight Premier League games will shape their season.
Stoke have been forced to endure one of the toughest opening runs of fixtures in the league, having faced all of last season's top four already, picking up just two points from a possible 12.
They will see their next eight games far more winnable with only Newcastle, Fulham and West Brom representing sides that finished in the top half of the table last campaign.
And after their taxing start, Adam, 26, is grateful for a more appealing set of fixtures, but the Scotland international is quick to stamp out any suggestions Stoke can relax.
"There's no reason why we should be complacent, certainly not if we want to build on what we have done so far this season and what the club did last year," he said.
"It's great to play at places like Manchester United, but they are not the games that decide your season.
"It's games against the likes of Sunderland that are going to influence where we finish."
The Scotland international feels he is finally starting to show his true form after a slow start, following his £5 million move from Liverpool in the summer. His 90 minutes in the 4-2 defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford last Saturday was his first full game for his new club.
"It was nice to get 90 minutes and I'm really enjoying it here," he said.
"To play against United, City, Liverpool and Chelsea. It has been great for me, but we have to get ready for Sunderland and learn the lessons from Old Trafford."
Meanwhile, Wilson Palacios is considering whether to join Hull City after being told he can leave the club on loan until the new year.
Stoke have already loaned out Jermaine Pennant to Wolves and now Hull have enquired about the former Spurs midfielder, who has struggled to make an impact since his £8 million move from White Hart Lane last summer.