Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti believes that his side are an even better one that won Ligue 1 last season.
Les Parisiens sit top of the French table on 24 points after 10 matches - two points clear of Monaco - and have won all three of their opening group-stage games in the Champions League.
Ahead of Sunday's visit to Saint-Etienne, Italy international Verratti remarked that Laurent Blanc has improved on Carlo Ancelotti's winning formula and feels that the bond between players at Parc des Princes is incredibly strong.
"I do not think many players like to play against us," the 20-year-old told RMC Sport. "Last year it was true that we sometimes could not win. The elements were not exactly tight.
"I prefer to play as we play this year. It is true that we play better. We are a group that get along well, even off the field. This is a lovely group, there is solidarity between us.
"Laurent Blanc basically has not changed much but what he has brought on board has been very positive. He has had a role in our progress."