Gabby Agbonlahor admits Villa are aiming to repeat their ‘win or bust’ mentality to ensure they avoid another survival scrap.
Fresh from giving Chelsea a major fright on Wednesday and shooting down Arsenal, confident Agbonlahor believes they will avoid another brush with the drop.
Liverpool visit Villa Park tomorrow with Agbonlahor looking to hit back from Wednesday’s controversial 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho admitted Villa deserved a point after Branislav Ivanovic avoided a red card for an elbow on Christian Benteke to score the winner two minutes later.
John Terry’s late handball in the area went unpunished to leave Villa with a sense of injustice.
They return to Villa Park for their first home league game since securing survival in the final week of last season.
But, ahead of their sell-out Reds showdown, in form Agbonlahor said Villa have taken their survival instincts into this year.
He said: “We got the job done and this season we want to build on that. Near the end of the season we felt like every game was a must win, there wasn’t even another option.
“We’ve talked about that and we want to start out that way, use that all the way this season. We’re all a year better and the younger lads have all got a year of experience behind them. We always want to improve and we want to do better. That’s the challenge we’ve set ourselves.
“Last season was good for the young players. When it mattered they all turned up which is a credit to them.
“I think the squad that we have, with a lot of new players and young players, is exciting. I think from what I’ve seen so far we look really promising.
“We play high-energy with everyone working at 100 per cent for each other, not just going forward but backwards as well and I think that’s important. That’s what got us through last season and it’s been really good this season as well.”
Villa host Rotherham in the League Cup next Wednesday before a two-and-a-half week break following the Chelsea game rearrangement and the international fixtures.
They resume at home to Newcastle on September 14 and Agbonlahor believes they can maintain their form against Liverpool.
He said: “They have players who are world-class but we’re confident, we’ll play our game and have the fans behind us.”
Jores Okore could start after his impressive debut off the bench at Chelsea when Ciaran Clark was forced off following a kick to the head. The Ireland defender is expected to be fit but Nathan Baker will miss out with his ankle problem.
Chris Herd is training again after his calf injury with Charles N’Zogbia (Achilles) the only long- term absentee.
Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates has been ruled out for most of the season with a knee injury.