Sunderland manager Steve Bruce is content with the way things have gone since he took charge at the Stadium of Light in the summer.
The Black Cats currently stand in tenth place in the table, despite a run of seven league games without a victory in recent weeks.
Bruce told the Sunderland Echo:"It was asking a bit much to take over a side that had come close to relegation for two years in a row and turn them round in the space of a couple of summer months.
"We had a great start, which is always nice, but I was always a little bit cautious.
"The Premier League is a tough environment and if people thought our season would carry on at the rate it started over those first nine games, they were mistaken.
"There was always going to come a time where things dipped, but hopefully the signs are there now that we are coming out of it.
"We've been a bit up and down over the first six months. My aim is to smooth out the ups and downs, and get us on a level course.
"I brought in six players in the summer and I think we've made progress.
"I need to go out and bring in five or six more, but I don't think that January is necessarily the best time to do that."