Aston Villa defender Nathan Baker has put the club’s successful start to the season down to the added experience and competition in the squad.
After a lacklustre 15th-place Premier League finish last season, manager Paul Lambert made a point of targeting proven veterans during the summer window, with new signings Philippe Senderos, Kieran Richardson and Aly Cissokho proving crucial to the side which currently sits second in the table with 10 points from their opening four games.
Coming off a 1-0 win away to Liverpool, attention now turns to Saturday’s home game against Arsenal, and Baker believes the team are more than capable of pulling off another upset given their current confidence levels.
‘We are getting stronger and stronger,’ he told the Birmingham Mail.
‘We have a lot more experience in the team and it is paying off.
‘This is the start of a hard spell and hopefully we can carry on with the confidence we have.
‘We have done it at Anfield so why can’t we do it at Villa Park? If we can beat Liverpool we can beat anyone.
‘The signs have been there. There has been more competition and maybe that is why we are doing so well, everyone wants to keep their place,’ he added.
‘We have had a few more players come in with some experience and that has helped the younger lads come through.’
Baker made his first league start of the season against Liverpool, earning rave reviews for his assured performance, and Lambert was delighted to see the centre-back impress after a disappointing 2013-14 campaign.
‘I thought Nathan was outstanding [at Anfield],’ he said. ‘He’s grown into a man – a big lumping guy. His performance alongside Senderos was excellent.’