Petrov targets top four finish

Villa almost managed to break into the top four last season.

“The experience of being in the top four for much of last season was great, and we want the same again,” said Villa skipper Petrov.

“The early signs have been encouraging and we played a team on Monday in Manchester City who are trying to achieve something big, but we are trying to achieve as well.

“Manchester City will be a force because they are looking to build something big but we showed against them that we are not far from them.

“They have a chance of the top four, but we do to. We can compete at this level.”

He added: “We’ve shown in the last three seasons that we can compete. We’ve had good results in that time against the top teams like Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United.

“We also know what pressure means. We have had it the last two seasons and we need to cope with it again and be more consistent and we hope we can go the same way.

“The experiences of the past couple of years will also stand the younger players in good stead for the battles ahead.”