Villa Need To Battle In 'Group of Death'
Brad Friedel has said UEFA Cup and our group especially will be just as strong as the Champions League this season.
And he was adamant we will have to be ready if we expect to get anything out of Thursdays match against Ajax.
"It`s going to be fantastic. We are all really looking forward to it.
"This year, for some reason, when you saw the teams in the UEFA Cup, it mirrors some of the Champions League fixtures.
"You look at the likes of AC Milan, Deportivo, Valencia and Seville and then in our group, with having Hamburg and Ajax, they have both won the competition in the past and both play in the Champions League quite often.
"Zilina are a good side too and Slavia Prague are consistently in the Champions League as well. So it is a very good group and a very exciting group."
Friedel believes we must get the first win behind our belts if we hope to make an impact in the Cup this season.
"It would be nice to get three points to begin with to give us momentum but this time around, as opposed to when I played in the group stages with Blackburn, there are no easy games.
"You cannot bank on three points, you have to get out there and do the work.
"There are going to be a lot of teams taking points off other teams all along, and I think it is going to be really tight. So if we can get off the mark with three points against Ajax that would be brilliant."