Emile Heskey admits he's been staying up way past midnight to watch Villa in action from Australia this season.
Heskey has been playing for Newcastle Jets after leaving Villa to join the A-League side down under in September 2012.
But the powerful forward says he's been following the fortunes of Paul Lambert's emerging team from his base in New South Wales.
The 35-year-old has been thrilled with what he's seen and delighted with the improvements since the turn of the year, with Lambert's Lions roaring to safety via some cracking results.
Heskey has subsequently returned to the Midlands following the completion of the campaign, which runs from October to March.
That meant he was able to come along to the Chelsea game, observing the action before saying hello to former playing pals Fabian Delph, Brad Guzan and Gabby Agbonlahor.
Heskey says he's positive about the claret and blue direction under Lambert.
He told AVTV: "I admire Paul Lambert. I think he's done really well.
"The way the lads played against Chelsea was brilliant.
"They passed the ball around well and moved it brilliantly.
"But with Christian Benteke in the team, if you need to go a bit more direct, play it into him because you know he's going to hold it up and then you can support him.
"I think the way Villa played was great.
"They were unlucky with the goals but you're playing against Chelsea. That can happen.
"But overall, the manager has always stuck by his players and backed them. The lads have improved.
"They have played some smashing football, too.
"I have enjoyed watching the football that they've played.
"A lot of people will have expected Chelsea to get at them but they didn't. They outplayed Chelsea especially in the first half.
"I thought Delphy was superb and Sylla was brilliant. I was very impressed with what I saw.
"But I have been watching them for months now. I have managed to catch most of the games actually.
"All the games show over in Australia. They're generally on at midnight. I either watch Villa live or record the games and watch them afterwards."
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