Clark: We refused to be overpowered in stern Stoke test
Ciaran Clark hailed Villa's young side for standing up to a powerful Stoke outfit - and for sticking to their game plan.
Clark said it was important that Paul Lambert's team didn't get drawn into a scrap against the Potters in Saturday's top-flight encounter.
The boys in claret and blue stuck to their possession-based plan and emerged with a creditable goalless draw against one of the league's in-form teams.
And Clark reckons Villa's commitment to keeping the ball was a key factor.
"Everyone knows the way Stoke like to play," said the defender.
"We talked about it a lot this week in training and we worked on a few things to try and prevent what their strengths are and help ourselves on the pitch.
"We came out with a clean sheet and we'll take the point. The clean sheet is the main thing.
"They are a big physical team and we didn't want to get sucked into playing the long ball game and trying to fight them because I don't think there was any way we were going to beat them that way.
"We worked a lot on getting the ball down, passing it from the back and keeping possession.
"I think we did that and the two lads in the middle - Barry and Westy - managed to tire their lads out with the way they kept the ball."
Clark teamed up with fellow academy graduates Chris Herd and Nathan Baker once again in a three-man central defence.
The clean sheet was particularly satisfying for the trio, who have come through the ranks together at Bodymoor Heath.
"It is nice to see the boys come through together and we are all around the same age," he said.
"We are all playing and it is weird because a few years ago we were all in the youth team together playing at Bodymoor every Saturday.
"It is nice that we have all come through together and we are all good mates."
Clark was proud to captain the team for the final stages of the game after Gabby Agbonlahor made way for Darren Bent.
It was the first time he had worn the armband for the senior side.
"I've worn it for the youth team and the reserves so it was nice to wear it for the last few minutes of the game," he added.
"It was a brilliant feeling and it gives me a bit of confidence.
"But the result is the most important and we got a clean sheet and a draw so we'll build on that."
Make sure you back the boys against Tottenham.