Villa miss skipper's knowledge - Boss
Alex McLeish feels the loss of Stiliyan Petrov's 'tactical knowledge' in the run-in has been a huge loss to his Aston Villa side.
The Villa chief has spoken out on the impact of the Bulgarian international midfielder, who is currently sidelined as he battles to recover from acute leukaemia, after he was handed the Players' Player of the Year award from his team-mates at Monday's end-of-season dinner. McLeish feels Petrov thoroughly deserved the honour for his performances this season as he excelled in a more forward midfield role which saw him chip in with four goals, including wonder strikes against Sunderland and Everton. And, as Villa are just three points clear of the drop zone with two matches remaining - at home to Tottenham and away to Norwich - McLeish feels Petrov's experience and knowledge on the pitch has been a big miss in recent weeks. He told the club's website: "At the start of the season, you're wondering what level the senior players are. "Stan has always been renowned for his surging runs especially at Celtic and he's kind of modified his game a wee bit in England as he's got a little bit older. "At the start we didn't really have anybody who could take the ball. "Stan was trying to do that and then trying to get forward as well and there just wasn't a great balance to it. "Delphy was in the team at the time and I thought he had a really solid start. "Then we released Stan a wee bit more to get forward and get some of those shots off and he excelled and hit some screamers and he has been a really good captain. "If you bring a younger player in he may have better legs or may be quicker, but Stan's tactical knowledge, his experience, was worth its weight in gold in terms of being able to go into the right positions without having to run too fast and too far. "He knew how to handle that side of things economically."