Leonardo Bonucci said AC Milan's "journey of growth" has begun but he believes the new-look Italian giants are still adrift of Juventus and Napoli.
Milan's revolution continued at San Siro on Sunday after they overcame visiting Cagliari 2-1 in Serie A.
It was far from a convincing performance from Milan, who needed Suso's free-kick with 20 minutes remaining to scrape past Cagliari and make it two wins from as many Serie A matches.
There are still some teething problems at Milan as head coach Vincenzo Montella attempts to integrate new signings Nikola Kalinic, Andre Silva, Lucas Biglia, Hakan Calhanoglu, Ricardo Rodriguez, Mateo Musacchio, Andrea Conti, Franck Kessie and Fabio Borini into the squad.
But fellow recruit and captain Bonucci is pleased with Milan's progress as they try to dethrone defending champions Juventus.
"We have closed an important cycle of games," Bonucci said. "Our journey of growth has begun. These games help this journey well, they show you the value of spirit and sacrifice.
"Tonight we made things difficult for ourselves, we made mistakes. Now we have the break, when we come back there will be a new cycle awaiting us and we need to be ready."
Bonucci added: "We need to live day by day and to improve. This journey should help us make Milan great again.
"We are only at the start. We need to improve and become more of a team. We are not looking at other teams because Napoli and Juve are a little ahead of us.
"We have to look at ourselves, become a group and leave nothing out there."