Barry Bannan believes Aston Villa are about to turn a significant corner as they emerge from their daunting trilogy of games with a crucial home clash against Reading tonight. Villa have just played the two Manchester clubs and Arsenal in successive matches since winning at Sunderland and the young Scot believes performances have merited more than just the one point they have reaped.
And he anticipates lift-off before the turn of the year.
"We have just played three massive games, really tough, but acquitted ourselves well," he said.
"Our season starts now with the games we have up and coming. We all know in the dressing room they are winnable games, so we are looking forward to them.
"I don't think we showed Arsenal too much respect because if we had stood off, it would have been difficult. We got in their faces and more than held our own. In that changing room, we have good quality. We are young but we have confidence in our ability.
"We are confident we can win these games and shoot up the table. It's one of the biggest leagues in the world, so you are not going to turn teams over. Reading are battling for their lives and it's a tough game."
After tonight's meeting with one of only two clubs below them in the Premier League, Villa face bottom-side QPR, then Stoke and Norwich.
The pre-Christmas programme represents an opportunity to put points on the board and the midfielder, who will turn 23 on the day of Saturday's trip to Loftus Road, is still excited about what 2012-13 might hold for the club.
"We obviously want to be higher but we're not even half-way through the season yet and we're looking upwards," he added. "Hopefully, we can turn it round and push our way up the table.
"We have played really well, although the results have not gone our way, especially against Manchester United. We performed well for 60-65 minutes, so we took a lot of positives and will try to get the win against Reading.
"There are going to be ups and downs but we have performed pretty well in the last three or four weeks.
"We go into these games in the same frame of mind as against Arsenal and I think the crowd are enjoying the way we are trying to play."
Of his own contribution under fellow Glaswegian Paul Lambert, Bannan says: "I have to keep performing each week. The gaffer has given me confidence by playing me in a certain number of games."