Mellberg backs Laursen to impress at Villa

Aston Villa defender Olof Mellberg says teammate Martin Laursen is desperate to get a full 12 months of regular first team football under his belt.

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He told Villa's website: "The partnership with Martin Laursen has been going really well, but the own goal was so unfortunate.

"We have an almost telepathic understanding - it feels really good playing together.

"We enjoyed playing together last season when we played quite a few games and that carried on in pre-season.

"We know each other's game inside out and we know each other well off the field as well, which helps.

"We're very good friends off the pitch and we get along really well. It feels right and we seem to suit each other well.

"He wants to have a season where he plays every week and that's what he's looking at.

"We all know what he's capable of, but we haven't seen much of him yet and we all feel it will be great to see him over a whole season at centre-half in the Premiership.

"Only when he does that can he and we all reflect on how good he is. Hopefully we can stay fit and keep that going.

"Martin's target this season is to perform, stay fit and keep playing every week. He's felt really well during pre-season and so far everything looks OK."

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