- Premier League
Vlaar says it's vital Villa keep Weimann
Ron Vlaar has spelled out the importance of Aston Villa hanging on to Andreas Weimann well beyond the resolution to this season's tense Premier League survival battle.
The in-form Austrian is at the centre of so-far inconclusive talks over a contract extension and has emerged as one of his club's main hopes of avoiding the drop.
Weimann, who won the first of his three senior caps in the autumn, is known to Vlaar on the international stage, as well as the domestic one, and is being tipped by him for a big future.
"If you see Andreas' work-rate, it's crazy," the Villa skipper said. "It's unbelievable and he's doing it every game.
"He was massive for us against Queens Park Rangers. I don't know much about his contract situation but I heard they are talking and it's very important he stays with Aston Villa. He has announced himself as a player. He has scored a lot of goals and is in the right spot so much of the time.
"I knew him because I know the youngsters in Holland played Austria and there was only one player in my thoughts from that game. That was Andreas Weimann.
"He is improving and has also played for the national team. That's good. The fans are very happy with him and can see what he is capable of. If he goes on like this, he can become a better player because he's always in the right place to score or have an assist."
Weimann has a more than healthy 11 goals to date from his breakthrough season in first-team football and also brilliantly set up the winner for Christian Benteke at the weekend.
He is one of the many Villa players now turning his attention to duty with countries and will change focus at a time when his club in a much better position than a fortnight ago.
But Vlaar admits that the side's task would not be so difficult if they could acquire the knack of keeping clean sheets - something they haven't managed in 19 League and cup matches stretching back to the home draw with Stoke in early December.
"If we win 2-1 or 3-2, that's still good but it's fair...we have to improve that side," he said of the defensive shortcomings.
"This is a great boost to win two games in a row but we have to go on. This gives us confidence. We can relax for a week and then look forward to Liverpool, which is another great game for us.
"To come from behind in these two games shows we didn't let our heads go down and just let things happen.
"These are the games you have to get points from at this stage. Six points from two games....everybody is happy and very relieved."
Vlaar's call last week for the fans to lift the Villa Park roof was answered in full for the visit of the basement club and the Dutchman expects the same sort of atmosphere to be created now for the visit of Liverpool a week on Sunday.
"The fans were massive, so important, just like at Reading," he said. "It's not an easy season for them but these two games give everybody pleasure. That's what they have always wanted but we didn't always give them the right answer. You need results and this is a great boost."