John Carew believes Aston Villa will be better equipped to seize any chance to break into the top four of the Barclays Premier League next season.
Villa held a six-point lead over fifth-placed Arsenal at the beginning of March and seemed destined to clinch a Champions League spot for the first time. But a dramatic dip in form meant they eventually finished sixth, although it was sufficient to guarantee a place in the revamped Europa League for the 2009-2010 campaign.
And Carew, who finished as Villa's leading scorer with 15 goals, believes the squad will benefit from this season's experiences, and said: "It is a very important season for Aston Villa next season and I think we will be better equipped. Overall I think we have improved this season and the players here are getting better and better."
He added: "What will happen in terms of the squad? I don't know, but with the team we have I think we will get better each year.
"We are learning each season and, if we find ourselves in the same position we did this year, fighting for the top four, I think we will handle it even better."
Carew believes Villa will benefit from having a bigger squad as they challenge for honours on more than a couple of fronts.
He said: "Is the squad big enough? For the amount of games we have played this season I think it is okay.
"If you are going for four competitions, the more good players we have the better - but it's not up to me."
Carew missed the middle third of the campaign with a back problem but would have been happy to carry on playing.
He said: "I feel my peak form was starting to come. Of course, I wish the season was a month or two longer. But I will train over the summer and I will be ready for next season. Let's hope we can then get off to a flying start."
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