IAN Holloway challenged Millwall to force their way into the play-off pack after Saturday's stalemate with Nottingham Forest.
The Lions, fifth before the international break, have slipped down the league table this week after only claiming one point from a possible nine.
But Holloway believes his side can break back into the top ten in the Championship in the months ahead – and was encouraged by the performance against Forest.
"I was very pleased with our display," he said. "We've got one point from three games but we've probably played better this week than we have in some of our others games.
"We're getting there. I thoroughly enjoyed our play. We got three points against Fulham and we've had spells this week where we played much better than we did against Fulham.
"That's all we can do. I think we can compete in the Championship and not be struggling down the bottom. We're not where I want to be but we're learning.
"I don't want to be a Kenyan in the marathon because they're always at the front. That's not us – we're not going to be there. I want to get in the chasing pack.
"If we can win our next game, then we might be in that pack. At the minute we've dropped out of it because we've only got one point out of nine.
"I knew this would be a tough week but unfortunately it proved to be even tougher than I thought and it was tougher on us than we deserved.
"But we didn't lose our confidence and we kept going. We stayed on task and were calm."
Millwall restricted Forest to just two shots on target – with big-money summer signings Britt Assombalonga and Michail Antonio kept quiet by the Lions' back four.
At the other end, Mathias Ranegie and Martyn Woolford had chances to win it.
"I would suggest a little bit of wedge here and there, chucked at a £5million centre forward, does help you," Holloway added. "Forest are on a roll – they're buzzing at the moment.
"Forest went 4-4-2 late in the game, which meant Stuart Pearce was trying to win it, but they also sat in and got well organised to stop us. That shows we're not that bad.
"I'm the worst pundit in the world because I told the fans before the game that it would never be 0-0 – that they'd been on the edge of their seats and it'd be high-scoring.
"Thank god I'm a manager because I'd be absolutely useless as a pundit. I said 'categorically this game will not be 0-0' – why don't I suggest something instead of opening my big trap?
"But in fairness, it shouldn't have been goalless. We should've had a penalty and so should they – at least it'd have been 1-1.
"The save from Ranegie and then Woolford's opportunity are big things at this level. We could have been smiling about beating top of the league but we didn't."
Holloway added: "Ed Upson was terrific. He looked good with Shaun Williams and I should hope so because I signed them both!
"You've got to learn how to play for Millwall and I think the crowd enjoyed how he played today.
"We've got to learn how to work with Ranegie and simplify things around the box. All we needed was a ricochet to fall our way or Ranegie's chance to go in.
"That's all it takes sometimes – we did it with Blackpool the other week when we opened them up with a free kick.
"I had to protect Ricardo Fuller – I didn't want to leave him out but he had a bit of tightness in his hamstring, so I couldn't risk starting him and I need to get Ranegie fitter."