BRAD Guzan reckons it’s time for Villa to man-up and stop hiding behind their ‘young and inexperienced’ tag.
The American goalkeeper led by example as his side won the first of two crucial six-pointers against Reading on Saturday to lift them out of the drop zone.
Now he insists his team-mates must continue to follow suit as they prepare for the second instalment against QPR at Villa Park next weekend.
“The press are going to say we are a young team and that’s the reason (why we’re struggling),” he said.
“But I’m not buying that. We see the quality that we have in the changing room, we see it on the training ground every day.
“It’s not about ‘yes, we have guys that are young and new to the team’, it’s not about that.
“You look at teams at the top of the table as well, they give up leads, they drop points, that’s football.
“That’s what this league is all about.
“It’s not about age, or inexperience, or a young look about our team.
“It’s about staying together, sticking together and fighting for each other and getting results.
“What we have to do now is keep that momentum going and continue to fight on.”
Guzan was as commanding as ever during Villa’s rare away victory and one can only wonder where they would be without him.
From the first minute right up until the death he was heavily involved but it’s his composed way of dealing with trouble that puts the rest of his team at ease.
Over the course of the season he has watched so much drama unfold in front of him that he could be excused for losing faith.
Yet he still retains his high standards and his positive way of thinking never fades.
“If you had looked at everyone’s faces at the end (you could see the happiness),” he added.
“There have been a few games this season where we have conceded late and we haven’t taken all three points so it was nice to take the three points.
“It’s a massive win for us and to come back from a goal down on the road at a place like Reading, where we know is a massive, massive game, shows what we are all about.
“Our character, our belief, our fight and spirit was all there to see.
“On top of that I thought we played some really good football.”
Villa silenced the critics that have hammered them all season with the win on Saturday.
And while Guzan is refusing to get carried away, he insists it has given his side the confidence to string an end-of-season run together.
“There’s nine games left, and 27 points to play for,” he added.
“You win all games, who says you can’t do that? You have to be thinking like that.
“What’s to say you can’t win nine games?
“We have tough games along the way for sure, but in saying that, if we continue to stick and fight we never know what’s going to happen.
“We played Man United at our place, we ended up dropping points, but at the same time it was a performance that we should have been proud of, and we should have seen that out.
“Yes, we have to go to Old Trafford, and, yes, we have to play Chelsea, but these are games that you want to be a part of.”