Chris Wilder insists Sheffield United are determined to continue defying expectations in the Premier League as their away record faces its toughest examination yet.
Brighton were dispatched 1-0 at the Amex Stadium on Saturday as the Blades secured a third successive victory, lifting them into fifth place overnight and forcing Wilder to field questions about Europe.
The result also equalled the Premier League away record for a newly promoted team of nine games unbeaten.
Watford visit Bramall Lane on Boxing Day followed by trips to Manchester City and Liverpool, leaving Wilder defiant even if he knows the size of the task ahead.
"Seen the fixture list?! It's brilliant for the club but we don't just want us being in the Premier League to be an event. We're here and we've earned the right to get into the division," the United boss said.
"Before the Brighton game I said to the players 'it's the Premier League, it's all going to be tough', but it's going to be tough for them as well. And we made it that way.
"The away record has been fabulous and now it's onto Watford on Boxing Day."
The Blades are one point off the top four, but Wilder dismisses any discussion of European qualification out of hand.
"It is ludicrous because the season isn't over after 18 games. It's accumulation of points, on to the next one, can we keep it going?" Wilder said.
"We've had some decent runs including one defeat in eight or nine, which is good going for a club in the Premier League and one that was written off to be down by Christmas.
"One of the qualities of the group last season and the year before that is how we recovered from defeat.
"That was going to be important this year because people talked about us losing two, three, four, five games on the spin and how do you cope with that mentally. It's something we talked about in pre-season.
"It was a disappointing performance against Newcastle and then we've had three wins on the spin. That's an indicator of what the group is about."
The promising form Brighton have shown recently ended against United but boss Graham Potter views the result as a wake-up call.
"It didn't take long for the pressure to come – about 20 minutes – and that's something for us to deal with as a team," Potter said.
"If we think we're just going to turn up at the Amex and start passing through teams at this level, that's a concern because it doesn't happen that easily.
"And because Sheffield United attack quite direct and down the sides, they overload you and there's a feeling of stress. The challenge for us is to try and find a way through and we didn't.
"They're unbeaten in the Premier League and we're not the only team in the league that's found it difficult to play against them at home."