Stephen Warnock believes few sides in the Premier League will relish a meeting with Aston Villa this term.
The full-back, who joined Villa from Blackburn over the summer, feels that Martin O'Neill's side have become 'hard to beat'.
A close-knit squad have drawn upon a battling spirit which sees them enter every game confident of taking something from the contest in question.
Having come agonisingly close to clinching a top-four finish last season, they are hoping that never-say-die attitude will carry them over the final hurdle this time around.
Warnock sees no reason why Villa cannot gatecrash the UEFA Champions League party, with the club having already proven that they are more than capable of mixing it at the highest level.
He told AVTV: "We're really battling at the moment but we need to turn the draws into wins somewhere down the line. I'm sure that will come.
"But we're looking solid and hard to beat. Teams don't like playing against us because they know we can mix our game up.
"We can play physically and go toe-to-toe but we can play good football too. Teams don't like that."