Rotherham United forward Michael Smith insists he and his Millers teammates have confidence in their abilities but need to translate that belief into performances in the second tier.
The industrious frontman has no question marks over his side’s ability to match anyone in the Sky Bet Championship on their day, adding that the players have received similar messaging from first team boss Paul Warne in recent weeks.
Speaking ahead of a double-header of home fixtures against AFC Bournemouth and Brentford, Smith is hopeful the Millers can harness their confidence and turn it into performances on the pitch in a division he firmly believes he and his teammates can be more than competitive in.
"We thoroughly deserve to be in the Championship. We are a Championship team so we need to start believing that a bit more ourselves,” he told www.themillers.co.uk.
“I think we do have that belief but it is important that we start kicking games off as well as we are finishing them.
"It is 11 footballers against 11 footballers. Obviously the likes of Bournemouth have a lot of Premier League experience but as soon as you cross that white line, it is us against them and it will come down to whoever wants it more.
"The Gaffer had a good chat with us at QPR and again the day after in the meeting. It is a lot of reiterating to the lads that we do deserve to be here and we are a Championship club for a reason.”
Smith is one of a number in the current squad who have the benefit of experience with the Millers in their most recent Sky Bet Championship campaign and the 29-year-old believes that those players in particular are keen to use their second tier know-how to help the current crop achieve their targets in 2020/21.
"I think playing in the Championship and the team last time around has definitely stood me, personally, in good stead going back into it this time,” he continued.
"I think I speak on behalf of the lads who were here last time - the likes of Woody, Icky, Crooksy, Joe Mattock and even young Wilesy.
"We haven't got anything to be afraid of in this league, we just have to attack every game with all we've got.
"It is just transferring that confidence onto a football pitch which is easier said than done but I think we're definitely on the right track.”
The tireless frontman was rewarded for a near-faultless individual performance at Loftus Road on Tuesday night with his first goal of the season, but in a selfless fashion – not uncommon in a player in Warne’s squad – Smith played down his own achievements as a result of defeat in the capital.
"It's always nice to score goals. Unfortunately, we didn't get the win which is the most important thing but on a personal level, it's pleasing to get off the mark,” he explained.
"It is good to get the reward of a goal but as I've said it is more about the team. Scoring when you get a result is much more satisfying and at QPR we weren't able to come away with anything.
"Especially at Swansea and Queens Park Rangers the second halves have been some of our most positive performances and we were creating chances, it just wasn't our day on either occasion.”