Gabriel Agbonlahor believes Aston Villa's attacking options have Premier League defences running scared.
The England Under 21 international admits Martin O'Neill's men failed to make the most of the opportunities they created last season, with a sixth-place finish regarded as a disappointment following a sustained top-four challenge.
However, he does feel that Villa's progress over the last few seasons has seen their profile on the rise.
With the likes of John Carew, Ashley Young, Emile Heskey and James Milner among their ranks, Agbonlahor insists the future now looks bright at Villa Park.
"We were disappointed we didn't finish higher than last season (07/08) but we still picked up more points than last season and so are improving," he said.
"I think it was a better season than last season because clubs were more scared of us, especially coming to Villa Park, but also when we went to their grounds.
Credit"Clubs did fear us. We went to the top four away and caused them problems. We went to Manchester United and did that and it was the same with Arsenal away.
"Now we just have to try and continue that next season.
"Teams were more defensive against us, dropped back a lot. A lot of them played with effectively a back five and just tried to defend against us.
"It was a credit to our attacking force."
Agbonlahor also believes that, with a bit of fine-tuning over the summer, Villa will have a squad capable of competing for a UEFA Champions League spot next term.
He said: "It will be hard to go to the next step but we are capable of doing it. There is a lot of quality at the club and I am sure the gaffer will look to bring more in."