Ron Vlaar backs Yacouba Sylla for Aston Villa success

Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar today claimed tough-tackling midfielder Yacouba Sylla will add some much-needed brawn as he targeted a defensive improvement.

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Sylla, 23, joined the claret and blues for £1.75m on transfer deadline day from French second division side Clermont and has been eased in gently by Villa boss Paul Lambert with two appearances from the bench so far.

And Dutch international Vlaar welcomed the addition of another player with presence to beef up a Villa side which has struggled to deal with physical opponents on occasions this season.

He said: "I hadn't seen a great deal of Yacouba but the boss clearly rates them very highly.

“You could see from his brief substitute appearances that he's a very strong player who will attack the ball and make some important challenges in midfield.”

Villa currently have the second-worst defensive record in the Premier League having conceded 50 goals this season – one more than fellow strugglers Wigan.

And Vlaar admitted that, as the team’s most experienced fit defender, he is desperate to improve that statistic especially as it has cost Villa vital points having chucked away two-goal leads on three occasions.

“We're aware that we have been conceding too many goals,” added Vlaar, who has made 21 appearances for Villa since he joined from Feyenoord for £3m last summer.

“We have 12 games more to play and we all realise what we have to do to start moving up the table.”