Date: 13th September 2008 at 5:52pm
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Aston Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov has told Sky Sports that with the new arrivals this summer all the players know their places are under threat.

The Bulgarian international, who seems to have awoken from a very very long slumbar at Villa, said:

‘I think we have more balance in the team now but with the competition, you need to be on the top of your game. If you are not on top of your game, then you are out, simple as that. I think the extra competition has given me and everyone else a shove to improve. You know now that every bad game could cost you your place so everyone is working hard and you are trying to be prepared as well as you can be for each game.’

He also admits that he is having to play a more defensive role at Villa whereas at Celtic he enjoyed getting forward and scoring, adding: ‘It is always good to score but we have enough people to score goals. The main thing is winning the games and playing well.’

Meanwhile Craig Gardner has told the official site he is sure teams hate to see Villa’s coach pull up. Not sure Stoke players would agree but hey ho, I’ll try to keep my bitchy comments to myself…!

Of last season he said ‘We dominated teams home and away and we proved we can score goals anywhere we go. I am sure that any team which sees our coach pull up for an away game will be aware of the ability, pace and danger in our side.’

Adding ‘One of the keys is the fact we have a never-say-die attitude under the manager. If we go behind we don’t let it faze us and we know we can bounce back. If we need to at Tottenham, that’s what we will do. We will certainly go there all guns blazing. I am sure the fans enjoy high-scoring games like the one last season but we’ll take any kind of victory at White Hart Lane – 1-0, 2-1 whatever. The key this season is improving and making strides in the league. We want to finish above sixth. I think we have the players, the manager and the backroom staff to do that.’