Leo Cullen admits Amlin Challenge Cup champions Leinster are desperate to reach the knockout stages of next season's Heineken Cup.
The three-time Heineken Cup winners failed to advance from their pool last season but went on to lift the second tier competition.
They have been draw alongside Northampton Saints, the Ospreys and Castres in Pool One of the 2013-14 Heineken Cup.
Cullen is well-aware of the merits of all three opponents but he has revealed the Dubliners are determined to advance from the difficult group.
"We were massively disappointed not to get out of our group last year," said Cullen.
"We came unstuck due to a number of factors but all the boys are mad keen to reach the knockout stages again - that is what it's all about for us.
"Last season we had to reassess - it was a new challenge for us in the Amlin Challenge Cup and the chance to win a trophy.
"Having the semi-final and final at the RDS was a real incentive and we had three great days in the competition.
"There was a great atmosphere in final against Stade Francais,. It was a brilliant occasion that I will always remember, but there was still a sense that we wanted to be at the Aviva Stadium the following day."
With Aviva Premiership finalists Northampton, Top 14 champions Castres and "bogey team" the Ospreys in their pool, Leinster face another formidable challenge.
And Cullen reckons all is to play for in a fiercely competitive group.
"It's always funny at this time of year because it seems so far away. The finals were only a few weeks ago and obviously Northampton reached the Aviva Premiership final, which is no mean feat. I also watched Castres cause a bit of an upset by winning the Top 14.
"It's a tough group all round - all the teams are pretty evenly matched. You always have to beat the best teams to win the Heineken Cup."
Leinster will embark on the new season with a new head coach in Matt O'Connor, after Joe Schmidt moved on to take charge of Ireland.
Cullen paid tribute to the departing Kiwi but is relishing the link up with his Australian successor.
"It will be interesting, Joe has moved to the national team after three great years in which we have been to six finals and won four trophies.
"Matt has done his apprenticeship around the globe, three years with ACT Brumbies and five with Leicester, who have just come off a league title.
"He is very highly regarded and we're looking forward to see what he offers. He is coming into a side in relatively good shape and will bring fresh ideas.
"Every one feels they have to prove themselves again and that will drive standards up."
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.