The Irish side have won four and drawn one of their opening five games and while McLaughlin admits confidence in the camp is high, he wants his team to take it to new levels in Europe.
"We are very proud of our record so far but we feel we can play better and we will look to European competition to help us reach new heights," said McLaughlin.
"The Heineken Cup is now one of the biggest competitions in the world and all the players want to play in it - it is just one rung below international level so the incentive is there for players to perform well.
"Our goal is to get out of our group as we were disappointed to just miss out last season - we went so close.
"We know exactly what it takes to progress and we hope that the disappointment of last year will help to drive us on to bigger and better things this season."