Stiliyan Petrov believes he is finally showing his best form for Aston Villa but insists he never lost faith in his ability, even when axed from the team last season.
The Bulgaria international struggled in his first 18 months with Villa after a Â£6 million move from Celtic in the summer of 2006.
Petrov admitted: "It wasn't a good start for me at Villa. People expected more and I didn't produce which was frustrating for me and for them. It was up to me to change people's thinking. I came here as a good player and that was how I wanted people to regard me."
He added: "But I never stopped believing and now I'm showing what I can really do.
"It's important for any player never to lose faith. It's up to every individual to keep his place and for a while last season I was out of the team.
"I was determined it wouldn't stay that way so I just kept working and I waited for my chance. When it came, I knew I had to start proving I could play."
Villa boss Martin O'Neill has sung the praises of Petrov in recent weeks and the midfielder is a strong contender for the club's player of the year award.
But Petrov brushes aside such compliments and knows the most important thing is to help reignite Villa's fading hopes of a top-four finish.
"It's flattering when the manager says nice things about you but, if you take too much notice, you can forget what is needed to be successful.
"We really want to achieve something for the fans. If we can get into the Champions League, that would be fantastic."
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