It is rare for Aston Villa to go into a Premiership match with so much optimism but tonight, away to Fulham, David O'Leary's team have every reason to believe that the spectre of relegation has been lifted.
Dare one mention the possibility of Europe?
"We're not using that word," Gareth Barry, the Villa midfield player, said. "No way."
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But you could see it in his eyes that Barry is more optimistic than he was before the 4-0 victory at home to Everton on Boxing Day.
Suddenly, after a year of frustration, disappointment and underachievement, Villa are looking like a team destined for the top six.
There are false alarms every season but Villa's performance against Everton was so good that the result actually flattered the opposition.
That was one reason why Aaron Hughes, the Villa and Northern Ireland international right back, was not completely happy. For sure, he was basking in the euphoria of the result, but there was a tinge of regret.
Why is it that Villa can only play like this once in a while? Why have supporters waiting so long to see this team click into place?
"That was a great performance, one that we had been threatening all season," Hughes said. "It all came together at the same time and it is a good feeling, but the important thing is to keep the momentum. Any team can have one good game. We have to make sure we put in more performances like that.
"It is frustrating to know that we are capable of good football and then that our results are not what we would expect or like but now we can be a bit more pleased with our work."
One significant reason for the victory was the performance of Milan Baros, the former Liverpool striker, who scored twice and showed great fortitude.
"It was great to see Milan Baros perform so well," Hughes said. "I played against him a few times when he was with Liverpool and he is a fantastic striker. In that form, he is frightening.
"He proved what he can do if he is given chances, but he also worked hard and caused problems for Everton with his pace.
"Our goal difference is improving now, so that is a good sign. Defensively, we are going well. We rarely seem to have the same back four in successive matches, yet we are stronger as a unit and we are conceding fewer goals.
"Mark Delaney has come in and performed well as a centre back. It was nice to see him pop up with a goal. The team spirit is great and we feel a sense of optimism and improvement."
On paper, Villa should secure at least a point away to Fulham tonight, but this is the Premiership  and this is Villa. There is no more erratic team in the division and, frankly, it is impossible to predict which team will turn up.
"We have got a few tough games coming up," Hughes said. "Fulham away is always difficult. There is something about Craven Cottage which makes life tough for opponents. We need to be as good as we were against Everton if we are to have a hope of picking up a victory against Fulham. We know it will be hard but we also know we can win.
"Then we have matches against Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion. The Christmas and New Year matches are always tough because they come so close together.
"In a short space of time, you can find yourself rising up the table or falling down it. Hopefully, we can begin to think about the middle of the table, rather than the bottom of it."
Hughes is over his own injury problems. He endured a hernia operation early in the season, at a time when he was establishing himself in the team, but his form is encouraging and he played a significant part in the victory against Everton on Monday.
"I am happy with my own form. I am 100 per cent fit. The injury came at a bad time for me and operations are never nice but I am over that now and looking forward to the next match," he said.