01/04/2007 at 10:00 AM EST
The New Year is about to bring a new, improved Britney Spears, her manager vows, adding that the pop princess is aware that her image has suffered lately.
"She understands what's going on right now, and she calls it her 'rocky moment,' " manager Larry Rudolph tells USA Today. "Britney knows exactly what she needs to do."
He adds, "She's taking all the right steps. Britney Spears will be back and absolutely at the top of the entertainment industry very soon."
Rudolph's comments are, in part, in response to an announcement that on Jan. 31, the 6-year-old "World of Britney" Web site, the largest unofficial fan site devoted to the 25-year-old singer, is shutting down. (In its first five years, the site reportedly attracted about 30 million Spears fans.)
"I've not been happy with the way she's portraying herself," the site's founder, Ruben Garay, told the newspaper.
Rudolph says he knows many fans have been put off by Spears's recent behavior. "From what they've been seeing and hearing, I understand the disappointment," Rudolph says. "But Britney is increasingly motivated to get out there. She sees this as a challenge, that some fans may be questioning her. She is respectful. She sees this as her challenge to win them back."
Rudolph termed Spears's filing for divorce from Kevin Federline on Nov. 7 "a sign to fans that she's serious" about a professional comeback, and added that she is about half-finished with her next album and plans to concentrate on it in full in the coming weeks.
"She's real excited," he said, estimating that the single will be out by late summer with the album to follow in late fall.