Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Pascal Gross has confessed that he had to learn quickly to adjust to life in the Premier League and how it taught him the need to improve.
The German joined the Seagulls from FC Ingolstadt for just £3 million last summer and was named the club's player of the season last week.
German points to first few games as "need to improve"
A standout first season in England has seen Gross score six goals and provide eight assists so far.
He pinpoints the home match with West Bromwich Albion - the club's fourth league game of the season - as key from an individual viewpoint.
After the first three games, a 2-0 defeat to league champions Manchester City, a game where Albion had just 22 percent of possession, another 2-0 defeat at Leicester City followed and Gross, who was subbed just past the hour mark, said he felt he needed to 'improve and fast' after that game.
The Seagulls dominated their following game, a 0-0 draw at ten-man Watford before Gross netted twice and set up Tomer Hemed in the 3-1 win against West Brom at the beginning of September.
Gross says Premier League is "more physical" with teams of "better quality" than the Bundesliga
Gross reflected on those first four games, saying: "The first games you have to learn and learn fast but I expected it to be like that. "It's a tougher league (than the Bundesliga), more physical and the qualities of the teams is higher.
"The first game we played City but then Leicester wasn't good and I knew I had to improve and fast. "I had a very good game against West Brom and then I tried to keep my level. I knew how to play the games and how to help the team as good as possible".
He stated that the game against the Baggies was "a good and very important game for myself."
Midfielder admits "there is room to improve", talks about German national team
As the Seagulls prepare to face Burnley on Saturday, Gross admits: “I know my strengths and my hard work - when I do the latter it means I can develop - I believe in myself and I only know about good principals and if you work hard you get rewarded. That’s what I’ll continue to do.
“There is always room to improve. I’m still quite young and I’ll try to keep working hard to get better. I know it’s not easy at a high level but I’ve learnt what I can develop this season - I speak to the coaches and it’s something that I’ll always be looking to do.”
The 26-year old also spoke about a possible call-up to the German national team: “The national team is a difficult one to break into – of course it’s a dream but you have to be realistic. To represent your country is everyone’s dream – it’s the same with Lewis Dunk and England.”
Gross talks about Brighton's fight for Premier League survival
Seven points clear of the relegation zone with four games left to play, the midfielder asserted that "It's all about staying up. That's why we train and why we try to do our job well".
He knows"You have to do your job to stay in the Premier League. It's not easy, it's a tough league and big teams are struggling.
We are still not safe, so we will fight for our place next year in the Premier League."