Chris Hughton believes keeping Brighton in the Premier League will be more difficult than last season because of the heavy spending of the promoted clubs.
Top-flight newcomers Fulham and Wolves have splashed a combined total of around £170million during the summer.
Albion, who have invested more than £60million improving their own squad, avoided relegation with two games to spare last term.
They welcome Fulham to the Amex Stadium on Saturday and boss Hughton feels competition in the top flight has increased.
“I think you’re always very wary and always very conscious because what I have seen is three teams that have come up – two in particular have spent big money (Wolves and Fulham),” said Hughton.
“And I think this will be, if anything, perhaps even a more challenging season than last season.
“I think also what’s happened is every team is conscious of a Stoke going down last season, a West Brom going down, and a Swansea going down.
“Arguably three teams that people didn’t expect to go down so I think everybody’s more conscious and wary of how difficult this league is.”
Fulham’s £100million-plus spending spree included the arrivals of defender Alfie Mawson, midfielders Jean Michael Seri and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, and striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.
The Cottagers have also completed the high-profile loan signings of Germany forward Andre Schurrle, Arsenal defender Calum Chambers, and Argentinian striker Luciano Vietto.
Hughton has been impressed with Slavisa Jokanovic’s transfer business.
“I think they’ve recruited really well,” he added.
“I would have to say most, if not all, of the players we knew and our recruitment department would be well aware of them.
“They’ve brought in very good players.”
Striker Mitrovic returned to Craven Cottage on a permanent deal following a successful loan switch from Newcastle last season.
The Serbia international hit 12 Championship goals to help the London club to promotion and has continued his form in the top flight with three strikes in three games.
“He has started the season very, very well and I think he’s had the continuity from last season,” Hughton said.
“He obviously feels very much at home there but we will have to make sure that we stop the supply to him because we know how dangerous he is.”