Paul Lambert believes Villa are 'smiles' better with Roy Keane.
Lambert has hailed Keane's impact in the claret and blue camp ahead of the 2014-2015 opener at Stoke.
Keane took on the assistant manager role in July and has helped guide the squad through a tough pre-season schedule alongside boss Lambert.
The Irish ace is a man of high principles when it comes to matters on the pitch but Lambert says he also has a fun and entertaining side off the field too.
That was captured perfectly when he was spotted sharing a hug with Villa mascot Bella before the pre-season friendly draw with Parma.
Villa travel to the Britannia Stadium this afternoon in a difficult opening fixture and the manager believes Keane's personality has provided a welcome boost around the camp.
He said: "I think he's given everybody a boost.
"He's given the whole football club a good lift.
"People probably see Roy as this stern-faced guy who doesn't laugh. But when you get to know him he likes a good laugh.
"He's not like the way people portray him.
"You've got to have that, you've got to have the difference from being serious to chilling out. He's been great.
"He's just been great. He's not just a serious person. He loves a laugh aswell.
"He's been great for me - and everyone else at the football club. He's been good."
Saturday's game could see new signings Aly Cissokho, Philippe Senderos, Joe Cole and Kieran Richardson earn their first taste of competitive action.
And, with a 2900 strong contingent travelling to the Potteries, Lambert is looking forward to the test against Mark Hughes' side.
He added: "The club is in a really healthy place at the moment.
"The main thing for me is to get this team going and improve on what we did last season.
"Every game is tough in this league. It'll be a great atmosphere.
"We'll take a good following there and we'll cause problems, that's for sure.
"We need to be on the front foot. It'll be a tough game but it will be equally tough for Stoke."
Check out all the details about season tickets.