Torquay United manager Kevin Nicholson is confident his squad will improve as the season goes on.
The Gulls have had an indifferent start to the campaign and have won just once in their last eight games with the club also being knocked out of the FA Cup.
“I’ve got no doubt that they will become as good, if not better than the team that finished last season,” Nicholson told BBC Sport.
“But it’s just not something that’s going to happen overnight.”
The Gulls lost a number of important players from the side which won nine and lost just four of their final 18 games of last season as they rose from being adrift at the bottom of the National League to eventually finishing three points clear of the relegation zone.
“We’ve lost Angus MacDonald who is now a Championship player, and a good Championship player, we’ve lost Nathan Smith who is now a very good League One player and winning awards at that level.
“We cultivated them over the year, come October last year nobody was looking at Angus MacDonald and Nathan Smith and raving crazily about them, whereas now they have Premier League and Championship clubs looking at them.
“We were a big part of that and we’ll do that now with the boys that we’ve got in there as they’re of a similar ilk, they’re of the same attitude, they want it, they want to do well, they work hard every day.
“They’re 21, 22-year-old lads that have come in, they’ve not been in our system long, we’ve improved them physically, we are improving them psychologically, and we’re improving them as players, but it will not be overnight.”