Ciaran Clark today warned Villa have lost their shock value and must deal with their growing reputation.
The defender reckons their Premier League rivals are wary of the claret and blues after their impressive form.
Victories against Arsenal and Manchester City underlined Villa’s improvement this term and Clark admits their secret is out.
“Maybe teams are looking at us now and knowing when they come up against us it’s going to be a tough game,” he said.
“We have had a tough start in the league. The games against Chelsea and Liverpool, we could have got points as well. That’s what we want. We want teams to think it’s tough.”
Villa have kept two clean sheets in their last two away games against Hull and Norwich – ending their Premier League clean sheet drought which stretched to 27 games.
Defenders Clark, Nathan Baker and Ron Vlaar were all criticised for crucial errors last season as Villa struggled against the drop.
But they have cut down on the mistakes this term and Clark said they have learnt from their past problems.
“The team is a year older. We have some fresh faces in and we are still coming together as a team,” he said.
“But we are a year older and hopefully we are still improving.
“We are learning from some of the mistakes last season. We are a young side and we’ve had a tough start this season but I think we are progressing and moving forward.”
Villa host Tottenham on October 20 after the international break looking to stretch their unbeaten run to four games.
Clark will return after Ireland’s final World Cup qualifiers against Germany and Kazakhstan and believes the break will do the squad good.
“I think it’s a chance for some of the lads to have a well-deserved rest, the ones who aren’t going away in any case,” said the 24-year-old.
“Maybe the rest will do them good. Hopefully we can get back together the week before the Spurs game and we’ll be raring to go.”