Middlesbrough’s positive start to the Premier League has not altered their perspective towards achieving survival, says defender Daniel Ayala.
Newly-promoted Boro are unbeaten in their opening three games, winning one, climbing to sixth in the table before the international break.
It is the Teessiders’ first season back in the top flight since relegation under Gareth Southgate in 2008-09.
“Lose three games and everything seems a lot darker,” Ayala told BBC Tees.
“We need to get to 40 points as soon as possible and that is the main focus.”
Ayala, 25, has previously played top-flight football with Liverpool and Norwich City, but the majority of his appearances have come in the second tier.
Having returned to the side to make three league and cup appearances following an ankle injury, he has already acknowledged the step-up in quality.
“You have to be on your toes, you’re up against better strikers,” the Spaniard added.
“If you lose a ball, you do something, they’re going to score; that’s the difference between the two leagues.”