Stiliyan Petrov insists it will take time for Gerard Houllier to stamp his mark on Aston Villa after a mixed start to the new manager’s reign.

Villa are 14th in the table after one victory, two draws and two defeats in Houllier’s first five Premier League games in charge.

Petrov, who is sidelined for three months with a knee injury, has been encouraged by the claret and blues’ performances. The Bulgarian midfielder believes it is only a matter of time before Villa turn the creditable displays into positive results.

“The team have been working really hard under the new manager and we have been playing well recently,” said Petrov. “We’ve been creating a lot of chances too so hopefully we can start putting a few more of them away.

“But it will take time and that is something that every team needs under a new manager. I have every confidence in the boys to go out there and perform to the best of their ability.”

Petrov sustained his injury in last month’s defeat at Sunderland and the skipper is likely to be out until early February.

“I feel okay but the knee injury I picked up against Sunderland means I will be out for around three months. It was one of those things and you have just got to accept that sometimes these things happen in football. It is the first time I have been out for such a lengthy period since I suffered a broken leg when playing for Celtic ten years ago.”

Houllier is still seeking to spark Villa’s league form to life, starting with Saturday’s trip to Fulham and next Wednesday’s home match against Blackpool.

However, the Frenchman has guided Villa into the Carling Cup quarter-finals after home victories over Blackburn Rovers and Burnley.

“It is fantastic to be through to the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup again,” added Petrov. “We had a great run in both cup competitions last season and it is our aim to try and repeat that this time around.”