He told AVTV Online: "It's great to see Gareth Barry expressing himself in a manner in which he has never done before at Villa. He admits that himself. That's particularly pleasing.
"I think the return to form of Stiliyan Petrov is not insignificant in the side's improvement. He is playing a holding role for us, which he is doing admirably.
"I am sure he feels he can do more - but let's take it a step at a time. He is regaining his confidence which is so important to any player. I feel Villa fans are starting to see the real Stiliyan Petrov.
"Nigel Reo-Coker has always said that he is a box-to-box player. I suppose I have given him more licence now to try and break up things and take the ball forward. It's then his role to select the right pass or drive forward into the penalty area.
"The midfield have complemented each other in the past few weeks and long may it continue."