By Paul Brown
Stewart Downing knows all about the importance of team spirit in the survival chase - and says Villa have it in abundance as they head to West Ham.
Downing insists marvellous morale is the single biggest trait in the claret and blue dressing room ahead of the Upton Park clash.
The wing wonder says the players are tight and get on brilliantly together - on and off the field.
He said: "We could have easily faltered against Newcastle if we had no team spirit.
"I think that is the biggest thing here. We stuck together and have a great set of lads.
"Team spirit is a big thing at every football club and fighting and tackling and making blocks and filling in for each other.
"That is all part of being a team and even the bench were buzzing in the changing room after the Newcastle game.
"If it wasn't there, we'd be in trouble.
"Team spirit is probably the biggest thing we've got, great team spirit."
Downing insists Villa cannot afford to let their guard down after the Newcastle win, saying a good result at West Ham is imperative.
This is particularly true when you consider the tightness of the top-flight table.
He added: "The win takes a bit of pressure off but it can flip around so easily. We've won a couple before and the next minute we are back in it.
"I think it does take a bit of pressure off but if we can win at West Ham it is a whole lot better.
"I am confident we can go there and win because they will be a bit down after this weekend. We need to kick on and get something there."
Downing also believes that Villa's renaissance in form is down to the re-emergence of James Collins and Richard Dunne as a central defensive partnership.
He added: "They are a threat in both boxes. James said before the Newcastle game that he fancied a goal and that was proved right.
"They form a good partnership. There is an understanding as soon as they play together.
"They played very well again against Newcastle."
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