By Dan Harrison
Steve Burns says Villa's stunning NextGen Series performance against Sporting Lisbon ranks "in the top three I've seen in my 25 years at the club."
The assistant academy manager hailed the efforts of the club's U19 side, who thrashed the Group 4 leaders to book a place in the knockout stages of the prestigious European tournament.
Janoi Donacien gave Villa a slender 1-0 advantage going into the break at the Sporting Academy, before Graham Burke and Michael Drennan scored two goals each in the second-half.
"We took the lead after 10 minutes having already had a penalty appeal turned down," said Burns.
"Then after the break we steamrollered them.
"Every single one of them performed - there was not a bad performance on the field.
"It was thoroughly deserved and I think if we'd have played anyone tonight they'd have struggled against us in that form.
"I would say that was in the top three performances I have ever seen and I've been here for 25 years."
Villa's progress to the last 16 is even more remarkable considering they suffered defeats to Sporting and PSV Eindhoven in their first two matches.
The battle for the second qualification spot in Group 4 went right to the wire after PSV grabbed a late winner against Celtic earlier in the evening.
But Tony McAndrew's team stayed in control of their own fate with an outstanding second-half display in Lisbon.
"What you have to remember is we had to win the last two games to make sure we qualified," Burns added.
"With PSV winning too, that was incredible pressure for these kids to deal with and they had to apply themselves.
"It is also a testament to the staff - Tony McAndrew, Ben Petty, Ronnie Sinclair and Sean Verity - who have been involved in this competition."