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By ESPN Staff

Veteran Pires keen to extend Villa stay

Robert Pires has expressed his desire to remain at Aston Villa for another season and help with the development of the club's crop of young talent.

Pires, 37, joined Villa on an initial six-month contract to the end of the current campaign. The former Arsenal player took time to gain full sharpness and match fitness after not playing since the end of last season.

But there have been more encouraging signs and Pires was giving a standing ovation after his performance in Saturday's 4-1 home win over Blackburn.

"For me, every morning I need to practice my football," Pires said. "I hope to play games and I hope to play next season. Why not? I would you like to stay at Villa for another season. I really love this club. I love the players because it is a very good team. I know Gerard Houllier, I am French, he is French.

"The most important for me help this team because I have experience. I know I'm not going to play every game. I'm old! We have some very good players. Sometimes you play, sometimes you go to the bench.

"But when I play, I try to play very well, like against Blackburn at the weekend. But, for me, I need to help this team, or the younger players, because I have the experience.''

Villa have lost only one of their last seven league games in climbing clear of the bottom three. There was speculation regarding dressing room unrest but Pires insists the team spirit is good ahead of Wednesday's FA Cup fifth round clash at Manchester City.

"Sometimes it is difficult in the middle of the season when you change the manager," Pires said. "It is difficult for the new manager, for the players, for the chairman, for the coach, for everyone. But there is a great team spirit and, when you play like against Blackburn, you have more confidence.''

"We have two months for climbing the table. The situation is not good. You need to work more, win game after game. But the next is in the FA Cup and the objective is to win the FA Cup.''

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