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Saturday 19 April 2014

Villa boosted by Benteke - Petrov

Christian Benteke made an instant impact in his first season at Aston Villa

Former captain Stiliyan Petrov has backed Aston Villa to enjoy a successful season in the Barclays Premier League now that Christian Benteke has pledged to stay at Villa Park.

The 22-year-old handed the Midlands club a major boost when he withdrew a transfer request and agreed a new deal until 2017.

The striker netted 19 goals as Villa escaped the drop last term and Petrov believes Benteke could make all the difference in the coming campaign.

He said: "It's a big boost. The way he performed last season, the way he played, if Villa had lost him, they would probably be in bigger trouble.

"Keeping him is just great. All the fans, the players, the manager, everybody is happy that Christian is staying at the club.

"He has shown unbelievable potential. He is still a young boy and he still has a lot to learn.

"But, if he plays the way he played last season, Villa will finish very, very high this season."

Petrov sees no reason why the Belgian should receive stick from Villa fans as a result of his initial plans to quit the club.

He said: "I don't think so, I don't think they should give him stick.

"They should actually be pleased that they have a player like that in their team.

"In the last couple of years, Aston Villa sold a lot of players.

"A lot of players went to Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City.

"When you have a season like Christian had, of course you have ambitions, of course you are going to have clubs with ambitions who are after you.

"I think the fans will be even happier now that Christian has decided to stay with the club."

Petrov announced his retirement from football in May following his battle against acute leukaemia.

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