Aston Villa midfielder Marc Albrighton is delighted by the end of season flourish that turned Villa's indifferent campaign into a 9th placed top-half finish.
The Villains took until the final day of the season to overhaul West Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion, who finished 11th in the Barclays Premier League table, to retain bragging rights as the region's top team.
"Everybody was expecting us to probably roll over in these last two games of the season being safe and playing teams like Arsenal and Liverpool to finish it off," said Albrighton.
"It was going to be hard. But the lads will go to the end.
"We've had a long, tough season but we've finished it off in style with a top-half finish - which is where the club should be at least."
A late surge up the table under the stewardship of Gary McAllister, who has stood in as manager in the absence of Gerard Houllier, was capped by enthralling victories at the Emirates Stadium, and a final day win over Liverpool at Villa Park.
Albrighton believes the strong finish to the season shows the potential of the squad, and is hoping it will help Villa kick on next year.
"The history that we've got at the club is brilliant but this season has been very difficult on and off the field," he continued.
"We've given a good account of ourselves in the last few games and it has gone really well."
Albrighton is now preparing to embark on a summer with the England U21 squad, who travel to Denmark for the European Championships in June, and the tricky winger will be hoping to replicate the club form he has shown for Villa in a bid to bring back the trophy.
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