Date: 25th July 2013 at 7:15am
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Stiliyan Petrov has backed Villa to finish high in the league this campaign, as long as Christian Benteke can replicate his form.

After a summer of shennanigans, a transfer request, additional time off, the withdrawl of a transfer request and then the signing of a new contract – Christian Benteke can certainly be accused of making an impact over and above the impression he made on the pitch last season.

Our new U21 coach, our former Captain and our forever No 19 said:

‘It’s a big boost. The way he performed last season, the way he played, if Villa had lost him, they would probably be in bigger trouble.’

Bigger trouble…cough…anyway (so called and non existent anti Lambert + experience hat off).

Giggles – I love you all really.

‘Keeping him is just great. All the fans, the players, the manager, everybody is happy that Christian is staying at the club. He has shown unbelievable potential. He’s still a young boy and he still has a lot to learn, but if he plays the way he played last season, Villa will finish very, very high this season.’

Keeping Benteke was absolutely key and probably more important than the signings we have made this summer on the face of things at least.

Not only will he be huge, and more than earn his big money move if he replicates his form this campaign, but the continuity it gives the team as we played ourselves into some form at the end of last season could be immense as we start this season, and the confidence that will obviously bring to other players as they already know what he’s capable of, and they know how he’ll play.

It also set a good standard again for the rest of the team and those teams and (agents) who might be thinking of a quick future buck at our expense, we won’t lie down and be walked over. Villa are more important than any single player and you leave with our blessing and on our terms.

Benteke clearly took the plaudits last season, but as said, with the core of the first team now knowing what he can do, the fact he’ll remain, the fact he’ll take the headlines and defenders will focus on him, could easily free up space for Gabby or Andi to really capitalise on additional space and we can share the goals around a bit more this season.

And that’s before we get into the realms of our newer unknown quantities who will be looking to shake things up.

Quotes – ITV.

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