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Vlaar sees a stronger Aston Villa mentally

Villa had to battle to survive in the Premier League under boss Paul Lambert last season - eventually finishing five points clear of the bottom three in Vlaar's first term in England.

Lambert's side have made an equally uninspiring start to the new campaign, with only three league wins this season, but Dutch defender Vlaar feels that they are a stronger group than in 2012-13.

And he is hopeful that they can now kick on to climb the table, starting with ending a run of four games without a win against Cardiff City this weekend.

"The general feeling among the team is that we're getting better," he said. "The feeling in the group is we are developing and progressing all the time.

"It's now about pushing forward together.

"We certainly have a good resilience now. That's a good thing. That’s been shown this season already.

"We're more solid as a team. We're more together on the field. That's a very good thing."