"If you say Chelsea are having a dip in form, they will go and stick six goals past you"

James Milner has no doubts that if Aston Villa fulfil their potential against Chelsea tomorrow they will secure a surprise victory.

Villa tend to perform well against the English champions - even if results are not always favourable - and Milner, the right midfield player, is optimistic of a result that would provide a significant boost.

Villa lost 2-1 away to Chelsea last September but deserved a draw. This time, with the backing of a large home crowd and an optimism borne of the victory against Port Vale on Saturday, there is hope of improvement.

Chelsea are not invincible, although they are difficult to break down and rarely concede goals. Milner is impressed but still expects Villa to make a match of it.

"You don't need to say anything about Chelsea," he said. "Everyone knows how good they are, the players they've got make them an unbelievable squad.

"They have a great manager and they are playing out of their skin but we know we can beat anyone on our day if we play well enough with the players we have got. Hopefully we've turned a corner at Villa Park and are making it a difficult place to come to.

"We know it will be tough, we know they are a good team, but hopefully we can work hard, put them under pressure, get them on the back foot early doors and then who knows what can happen?

"You've seen how tight the league is. If you look at our position, it is not that great but you look above and a few teams are on virtually the same number of points and with a couple of wins, you can be in the top half of the table. We've got to push on and put in as many good performances as we can."

Milner rejected suggestions that Jose Mourinho's Premiership leaders and reigning champions are not as good as they were earlier in the season. "If you say Chelsea are having a dip in form, they will go and stick six goals past you," he said. "They have got that quality and that shows what a great team they are.

"People might say they are not playing well but they are still winning games and that's what good teams do. They get results when they are not playing as well as they can.

"You've got to give them respect but if you give them too much respect and stand off them, they will murder you. We know we have got some great players but we are about working hard and closing down teams as well and we need to do that, to get on top of teams, and especially against Chelsea it is important we do that.

"They will pass it around and score goals with the play-ers they have got so we need to get in their faces early on and put them under pressure like we did against Arsenal.

"You need to put them under pressure, put the first touch under pressure, work hard as a unit, defend from the front, stay high up the pitch and give them no room to play. If you stand off them, they will pass it around and find a way through you."

Dion Dublin, the former Villa and Coventry City striker, has joined Celtic until the end of the season after his contract with Leicester City was cancelled by mutual consent.

The 36-year-old, who can also play in defence, worked under Celtic manager Gordon Strachan during their time together at Highfield Road.

Dublin has recently recovered from an Achilles injury which kept him out of the weekend FA Cup fourth-round clash with Southampt on but has been allowed to leave the Championship strugglers.

Dublin joined City on a free transfer from Villa in July 2004 and made 15 starts for Leicester this season without scoring, leaving him a little surprised over his move to Parkhead.

He said: "I know Alan Thompson from Villa, Paul Telfer from Coventry and Roy Keane from my Manchester United days. Hopefully, they will welcome me and make it easier for me because I am quite nervous.

"I may be 36 but I am still quite nervous to come to a place of this size.

"I know the fans are one of the biggest groups in the world. You don't get too much history of Celtic down south but, having seen some games and played in friendlies against Celtic, I am just gobsmacked at the size of the place. I am just looking forward to being part of a good squad of players and, hopefully, I can add to that and help the team to success.

"I am surprised myself - it was a real shock but it was an unbelievable experience for me to get the phone call asking if I fancied it. What are you going to say? When you get to play for Celtic, it is an incredible experience."