Football - Guzan upbeat about Villa chances

Brad Guzan believes Aston Villa are far better placed this year to avoid the struggles of last term despite losing two of their opening three matches in the new Barclays Premier League season.

PA Sport Report

Villa started the campaign with a superb 3-1 victory at Arsenal last weekend but, within the space of eight demanding days, have followed that up with a 2-1 midweek defeat at Chelsea and Saturday evening's 1-0 home reverse to Liverpool.

Yet it is not all doom and gloom for a youthful Villa side, who having scrapped to preserve their top-flight status in manager Paul Lambert's first campaign at the helm, have already shown plenty of development and promise in those three matches.

And goalkeeper Guzan does not envisage another season in which the midlands club find themselves battling against the drop.

"I think the improvement is massive (from last year), it's evident to see the change not just on the pitch but the camaraderie and atmosphere that's at the training ground, in the dressing room," he said.

"And that's important because when you go through difficult times on the pitch you have to be willing to fight for each other, and you look around and our performances speak for themselves over the last week, especially against top teams.

"That's credit to what the manager and the coaching staff have done here in terms of changes and, more importantly, credit to the boys who have come in from last season and this season."

The United States international added: "It's never an easy season, this is in my opinion the best league in the world. So every game is always going to be a challenge."

Asked if Villa were in a better position to compete now, Guzan added: "Yes. I think with the players we have and the atmosphere that's been created, going forward we want to try and put together performances we can be proud of and if we do that like we have over the last week then we'll come out the better for it more times than not."

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