Goalkeeper Brad Guzan is backing Aston Villa to return stronger for the new Premier League season.
The American and his team-mates suffered a disappointing campaign in 2012-13 and were in danger of being dragged into a relegation scrap at one stage.
A mid-season collapse almost cost Villa dearly and they had to rely on a run of 17 points from their last 10 matches to pull clear of trouble – including a 6-1 win over Sunderland to all but confirm their escape.
But Guzan feels that the pressure they overcame during those struggles will stand them in good stead when they begin the new top-flight campaign.
“We had a tough spell but that was what made us stronger and helped to bring out our character,” he told the Birmingham Mail.
“When you go through those tough times you are able to help each other, pick each other up and dust each other down. You keep fighting.
“If you make mistakes it’s how you respond to the criticism that comes your way, you have to be man enough and move on.
“I think as a group and as a team we did a really good job of that and that will help us now in the future.
“We will all learn from what we did wrong during that tough spell and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Paul Lambert’s side will open the 2013-14 Premier League season with arguably one of the toughest starts, with a trip to Arsenal on August 17 followed by a home clash with Liverpool and a visit to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea on August 31.
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