Brad Guzan: 'Aston Villa are a better side this season'

Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan backs his side to avoid a relegation battle this season thanks a strong team spirit.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan believes that his side are well placed to avoid another fight with relegation after an encouraging start to the season.

Villa brushed aside Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates in their Premier League opener, with narrow defeats to Chelsea and Liverpool following in a busy first week for Paul Lambert's men.

Guzan thinks there has been a noticable change in team spirit at Villa during the close season, which will help them come through stern tests as the campaign progresses.

He told The Mirror: "I think it's massive and evident to see the change. Do I think we are in a better position to compete and go and win games? Yes. Our performances over the last week against top teams are a credit to what the manager and the coaching staff have done in terms of changes.

"Not just on the pitch but the atmosphere and ­camaraderie in the dressing room and at the training ground. That is important because when you go through ­difficult times on the pitch you have to be willing to fight for each other.

"It wasn't our best start to this game but in the second half there was only one team on the pitch. We were unfortunate not to get something from the game. With the players we have and the atmosphere that has been created we want to put together ­performances we are proud of."

Lambert's side turn their attention to the League Cup on Wednesday night, when Rotherham United visit Villa Park.

Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea is congratulated by teammates after scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on August 21, 2013
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4Aston Villa27138639241547
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12Norwich CityNorwich28117102831-340
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14Queens Park RangersQPR2789103137-633
15Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest27102153343-1032
16Millwall27710102930-131
17Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds27710103034-431
18Reading2778123035-529
19Barnsley2769122737-1027
20Hull City27510123944-525
21Bolton WanderersBolton2767142545-2025
22Burton Albion2766152146-2524
23Birmingham CityBirmingham2765161538-2323
24Sunderland27410132947-1822
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