Two-goal hero Ashley Young has highlighted the mental strength that is driving Aston Villa towards their dream finish.

Villa look to have a genuine chance of breaking up the Premier League top four, the elite band of clubs whose dominance has been founded on years of Champions League competition and the money that produces.

After their fifth away win of the season, 3-2 at Everton where Young struck two of the goals, Villa are up to fifth place and just two points behind fourth-placed Arsenal.

Manager Martin O'Neill and his Villa side have loftier targets than fifth place, and Young's approach epitomises their desire.

After netting a last-gasp winner, he said: "We have confidence, strength and a strong mentality. We have our aims and we are getting there.

"Even when Everton equalised earlier in injury-time, we didn't give up. We keep going right to the end, and it paid off."

Villa led three times in a thrilling top-flight showdown between two sides with similar objectives.

First Steve Sidwell's 25-yard drive set the conflict in motion inside the first minute, before Birmingham-born Villa fan Joleon Lescott pulled Everton level.

Young grabbed his first when he anticipated Phil Jagielka's shocking back-pass, before Lescott again looked to have saved a point for Everton with a goal after two minutes of stoppage time.

But Young still had time to strike again, with O'Neill insisting the winger's contribution was world class.

Young said: "You could tell from the celebrations after the winning goal just how much we wanted it. It was a great game to be involved in and we were delighted with the three points.

"When Joleon Lescott scored their second it was heart-breaking for us after the

way we had played. But everyone could see the character and the strength we have got to keep going right to the whistle. We made it happen.

"I had the pace and was able to produce the finish to match it, I knew where I wanted to put the ball, we always talk of making sure we go right to the end, and it paid off.

"We are intent on doing better than last season and we are on course to do that."

Young's pace punished Jagielka's mistake, and he still had the strength to out-pace two defenders to grab the winner. He said: "For the first one I just read what he was going to try a back-pass and I was anticipating it. For the second, to come so soon after what looked like their equaliser, was very special.

"We will keep going the way we have been. It's all about concentration and team spirit. We are doing this without John Carew, he is a massive player for us, but we have the squad to deal with such injuries. We have added to the squad, and we are able to produce results like at Everton.

"It is a difficult place to go to, they are a strong side, but we are proving we can handle things. Hopefully that will continue during the Christmas and New Year programme."

He added: "The character, strength and mentality we have in the squad carries us through. We saw three minutes go up on the board for injury-time and we were determined to maintain the tempo.

"Even when Joleon got their second we kept going. I'd missed a couple of similar chances earlier and I had said to myself that the next time I would put it away. I have had a good last few weeks with Villa and England, and this puts the cap on it. The main thing was to win, and keep winning.

"The dressing room was a loud, noisy place at the end. We were all delighted.

"We did not do so well against Fulham last weekend, so we were delighted with the way things are going. We are picking up lots of points on the road, hopefully we can keep doing it this way."