Benetton coach Marco Bortolami has not been surprised by their impressive campaign and says that the team has been building over the past few years.
The Italian outfit are in contention for a place in the play-offs, despite succumbing to Munster on Friday night. They are in third place going into the final round when Kieran Crowley's men take on intra-country rivals Zebre.
Crowley's charges have an opportunity to finish in the top three in Conference B and Bortolami has been pleased with their development.
"Honestly, we expected to be more competitive than last year," he said. "We tried to set targets of finishing as high as possible, so we were hoping to compete for the play-offs.
"We are definitely pleased with the form of the team in the last two or three months because we competed and won against the top sides of both pools. We are in a very good position at the moment.
"It was a project that started two-and-a-half years ago. First of all, we set the target of building a winning culture, so we started to work on the field, but especially all the aspects off the field that would help us deliver the standards and performance we wanted on the field.
"Little by little we build on that and we make some changes, improve our set-up and everything is coming together, which you can see in the performance. The main thing is the change of attitude and the change of mentality that Kieran brought in, and we all brought into it."
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