Chris Coleman believes it would take heavy investment for Fulham to reach the next level and please impatient fans who want the club challenging in the top half of the Barclays Premiership.
The Cottagers are five points from 10th and five from the bottom three – and although Coleman is confident of avoiding a relegation scrap, survival is not enough for some supporters.
The Welshman said: “Our problem is that we’ve been in the Premiership for six years and if we are not in mid-table then there must be a problem.
“Why should we be mid-table, though? There are 10 bigger clubs than us in the league with bigger spending power.
“It doesn’t mean we can’t strive towards the top 10, that’s what we want to do.”
He added: “There’s pressure across the board, to win things or to stay in the league. I do think sometimes people have the wrong perception of certain clubs.
“We haven’t a divine right to be in there unless we throw some serious money at it, then you have a chance.”
Coleman believes a sustained challenge in the top half would require around £20million to spend on players.
Although he is unlikely to be given a war chest to bolster his squad, Coleman admits there will be changes at the club this summer.
“If you want to be serious about doing it for two or three years, real good younger players cost money,” he added.
“Any manager would like to say ‘this is what we’ve got, this is where we have to improve, and this is how much it would take for me to do it’.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be the case. It’s been hard but it’s been a fantastic experience.”
The Fulham boss stressed the difference between a sustained challenge and throwing everything into just one campaign.
Everton, who Fulham travel to on Friday, earned a Champions League qualifying spot two years ago but struggled in the following season.
“It’s about the season after. Look at West Ham and Wigan this season,” Coleman added.
The pressure to bring success has led to a tendency for managers to get criticised very quickly when results suffer, as Coleman and Everton boss David Moyes have found out recently.
“I spoke to David Moyes a few weeks back and unbelievably he was getting pelted up at Everton when he went with a formation and they lost to Tottenham. They’re pushing for sixth in the league,” Coleman added.
“He said that people get bored. When he arrived the job was to keep them in the league. They finished really high and everyone is raising the bar. If they’re not top five now there’s a few disgruntled supporters.
“The same is with us. Okay, we’ve not done better than ninth in my first season but everything has improved.
“Supporters look at it and want to take it to the next level. They may look at me and ask if I am going to take them to the next level. Maybe some don’t think I am.”
Coleman was jeered for taking Brian McBride off against Portsmouth last week but he has conviction in his decisions, even if supporters have grown tired of him after four years.
“I’m not a big-head or a bragger, but I know what we’ve achieved here. I’m proud and am not afraid to talk about it,” he added.
“But when you’re at somewhere for a long time, people get bored. Not myself, but the same face for 10 years is a long time.”
Coleman also insists he is unaffected by a midweek newspaper story into his private life.