Paul Lambert hailed the contributions of returning trio Darren Bent, Charles N'Zogbia and Gabby Agbonlahor after Villa overcame Ipswich in the third round of the FA Cup.
Lambert handed starts to Bent and N'Zogbia, who have been out of action with hamstring and knee injuries respectively.
Both produced lively displays with Bent scoring an equaliser early in the second-half.
Agbonlahor also came off the bench and played a part in fellow substitute Andreas Weimann's winning strike.
"Darren came back along with Charles and Gabby," said the Villa boss.
"Those three lads only really trained yesterday and have been out for a long time so that was really pleasing, especially with the way they played as well.
"Charles N'Zogbia is certainly a talent, there is no two ways about it.
"It was a big thing for him to play because he has been out for well over six weeks.
"That first goal was Darren Bent down to a tee, but I thought his game was very good, his whole work ethic and the way he played. His finish was top class."
Lambert was pleased that his side never panicked despite falling behind when Michael Chopra's shot went in off Eric Lichaj.
"The onus is always on the home team, especially when you play against a team from a different division," he said.
"It is always tough and it is the first hurdle you've got to overcome.
"Then you go a goal down, but all credit to them. But I thought we deserved to go through.
"The first goal gave us a little setback but we never panicked and kept on playing the way we were and I thought the first goal was exceptional."
Lambert shuffled his pack with Tuesday's Capital One Cup semi-final first leg in mind, although he had to call on match-winner Weimann sooner than expected because of an injury to Marc Albrighton.
The Scotsman described it as a "massive effort" from the players who came in to the side.
"We changed it today - we left out Christian along with Matty and Chris because they needed a break as well," Lambert added.
"We left out a few lads to give them a break and I was delighted with everyone that came in, I thought it was a massive effort.
"I wanted to give Andi a rest as well but he came on because of Marc's injury, probably sooner than we anticipated.
"Andi is in a rich vein of form at the minute. He looks so confident that he came score."
Lambert expects Ron Vlaar to be out for "a couple more weeks", while he is awaiting further news on Albrighton's foot injury.
"Albrighton has kick on his metatarsal - the same injury he had at the beginning of the season," said the boss.
"I don't know if it is fractured or anything like that but it is roughly about the same area."
Make sure you're there to back the lads against Southampton.