Petrov - We must keep Milner
Stiliyan Petrov feels it is vital for Aston Villa to keep hold of James Milner and all their best players.
Last Updated: 26/04/10 4:31pm
Stiliyan Petrov believes it is crucial for Aston Villa to keep hold of James Milner and all their best players.
Villa have enjoyed a fine season and are still in the reckoning for UEFA Champions League qualification with just a couple of games to go.
But speculation has suggested that Milner, crowned PFA Young Player of the Year on Sunday night, could leave the club in the summer.
Martin O'Neill has warned off any potential suitors and Petrov hopes Villa stand firm and strengthen their squad rather than weaken it.
"There are a lot of players at this club performing at a high level so there's going to be speculation. They are very good, young talented players with big futures," said the Bulgarian.
"If the club wants to go forward, we need to keep our best players like any big team - Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.
"They've tried to hold onto their best players and I hope our chairman and manager will do their best to keep our good players as well."
Manchester United and Manchester City have both been linked with Milner but Petrov believes his team-mate is happy at Villa.
He added: "It is very important we keep James. We have got a lot of talent at this club which has cost a lot of money. We need to make sure they are happy and stay here.
"He's been enjoying his football and that's the main thing for a player.
"If we try to match his ambition, and the club show they are doing things the right way, I don't think James will go somewhere else.
"People say that if Manchester United come knocking at your door, it's a different question, that the manager and the player then need to make a decision.
"James can play in any team and at that level but we hope he will stay with us."
Race for fourth
Villa have taken 13 points from five games since the 7-1 mauling at Chelsea appeared to have ended their chances of a top-four finish.
They are now back level with fourth-placed Tottenham and Petrov is staying confident even though Spurs have a superior goal difference and a game in hand.
He said: "I remarked four or five weeks ago, when people were writing us off, that there would be plenty of twists and turns and that's what happened.
"Fair play to Tottenham, they took their chances in two games that many people didn't expect them to win (against Arsenal and Chelsea).
"We're still in the mix and it's up to us now. We'll probably have to wait for other teams to drop points but it's up to us to try and win our games.
"We're going in the right direction and we'll see what happens at the end of the season.
"It's been a great season with the two cup runs and we've said all along that we wanted to make sure such a great season didn't end with us having nothing to show for our efforts."