Petrov impressed by Villa spark

Former Aston Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov believes Paul Lambert's young squad will avoid the growing pains that blighted their campaign last year.

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Villa survived a relegation battle but endured their fair share of miserable results, including an 8-0 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and a Capital One Cup semi-final shock defeat to then fourth-tier Bradford.

The signs this term, however, have been more positive.

A tough start to the campaign saw Villa's opening Barclays Premier League fixtures take them to Arsenal and Chelsea before they then hosted Liverpool.

But Lambert's side stunned the Gunners in London before losing narrowly to both Jose Mourinho and Brendan Rodgers' men.

Petrov says the signs are good for his former side to finish higher than the 15th place they managed in the season just gone.

He said: "Paul is doing a very good job. Obviously we are only three games into the season but the fans are satisfied.

"They won the first game at Arsenal and could have taken something from the second at Chelsea.

"It was a tough start but they are playing well. Paul has a young bunch of boys who are willing to improve, to get better and to finish in a high place in the league."

Petrov retired while he battled leukaemia, and is in remission but has taken time out from his coaching role with Villa's under-21 side.

He likes the look of Villa's squad and believes they have gained from their experience of the past 12 months.

"Because they are young boys, you expect them to go through a tough point in the season like they did last year," Petrov said. "But they are good characters and I'm sure they are going to pull through and have a better year than they did last year."

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