Brad Guzan says Villa have used the tough experiences of the previous term to help turn them into a more determined and decisive defensive unit.
Guzan accepts that the backline went through "tough games and tough defeats" in 2012-13 but insists those moments have made them stronger.
Villa's No.1 insists that the back five, including himself, are iron-willed in their desire to stay strong in matches.
Guzan accepts there's not much you can do about moments of magic from the opposition.
But he says there are no excuses for cheap, easy goals - and it's a resolution that runs throughout the squad.
He said: "We have taken the experiences of last season and made sure we have used them in a positive way.
"Yes there were some tough defeats, tough moments, tough games but we have used those to make ourselves better and stronger.
"To have that one year experience for the guys in the Barclays Premier League - including myself - it was vital.
"For us now, it's about trying not to concede easy, soft goals. We want to make it difficult for teams to score against us week after week after week.
"It's not a technical thing. It's just limiting our mistakes and being hard to play against every time we go out to play and upping our tempo offensively and defensively.
"You can't put your finger on one thing, it's a combination of things."
Villa have already put down a marker with top defensive performances against Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Guzan believes another reason for improvement this term will be the competition in the ranks, with Jores Okore and Antonio Luna bought in to bolster the backline base.
He thinks the manager Paul Lambert will be relishing the battle for places in the team.
He added: "The manager must be getting headaches but they're headaches he wants.
"That's what you need in a team - competition for places - and you need to make it difficult for your manager. That's what he wants too, of course.
"I believe we have the quality top to bottom. We have it all over the pitch."
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