Cardiff Blues boss Dai Young insists his side are more determined than ever to win the Magners League crown.
The Blues are yet to taste league success at Celtic level but Young is hopeful that will change this season.
And while three defeats from four Heineken Cup games may have seriously dented the Blues’ European ambitions, Young admits that disappointment has only made his men even more desperate to become Celtic Kings.
“One thing that those European results have done is make us even more determined as a group to do something in the Magners League,” Young told the South Wales Echo.
“Despite not playing to our full potential we are in a lot stronger position than where we were last season. We are in the top five, whereas last year we were at the wrong end of the table.
“There is still a lot of rugby to be played before the end of the season and traditionally we have always been a side that has played better after Christmas.
“Nothing is won or lost at Christmas and our aim for 2011 is to improve on our performances.
“We have shown glimpses of what we are capable of already this season but I don’t think we have put in an 80-minute performance yet.”
Young would love that 80-minute performance to come this Friday when the Blues welcome bitter rivals the Ospreys to the Cardiff City Stadium.
The reigning Magners League Champions crushed the high-flying Scarlets by 60 points to 17 on Monday and Young knows his side will have to be at their best if there are to make it seven league wins from 11 this term.
“The Welsh derbies over the festive period are always full-blooded affairs,” added Young.
“On paper, the Ospreys are arguably one of the strongest sides in Europe, packed full of current internationals.
“They showed in their recent wins over Munster and the Scarlets they have an extremely strong pack and scrum that can dominate teams.
“They also have some world-class players in the backs, so it is hard to find a weakness in their side.
“They are the reigning Magners League champions, so I’m sure they won’t want to give up the title lightly.”