Burnley manager Sean Dyche acknowledged life in the npower Championship would only get tougher for his side next season after they signed off on a high with a 2-0 victory over Ipswich.
Junior Stanislas put the Clarets in front with a fine 25-yard strike on the hour mark before Martin Paterson headed in with three minutes to go to seal the win and ensure Burnley ended the season in the top half with an 11th-place finish.
But, with top scorer Charlie Austin attracting plenty of interest from potential suitors and the money gap between the Barclays Premier League and the Championship seemingly growing ever larger, Dyche accepts they will have to punch above their weight again to succeed next term.
"The answer is 11th in the league in arguably the toughest ever Championship, certainly in my lifetime - that's an achievement in itself," he said.
"We are having to transition contracts slightly differently but still be effective enough to get people to stay and want to stay. Next season will be even tougher. The teams coming down will be even more cash rich and our neighbours will all be cash rich.
"But like Burnley do historically, we'll punch above our weight and come together as a community and a team - that one-club mentality is vital."
Ipswich headed into the game after just one loss in nine games - a run that had seen manager Mick McCarthy pull his side clear of the drop zone.
And while the season ended on a low note with defeat at Turf Moor, McCarthy, whose former club Wolves were relegated on the final day, is already looking to next season.
"I'm not really bothered about the game," he said. "I think our fans will understand the team I played.
"It gave me the opportunity to have a look at one or two and I'm glad nothing was resting on it - we were worthy of a draw but it didn't happen."