Matt Lowton insists that Villa passed a real character test at Stoke - one he believes will stand the team in good stead for the vital run-in.
Lowton says the players - especially the defenders - answered their critics in fine style with the win at the Britannia Stadium.
Pundits were quick to highlight the side's propensity to concede from set-pieces early on in the season.
But Lowton thinks the fact the players managed to contain the Potters - one of the finest exponents of box battles - shows they have the right mentality for the six-game fight ahead of them.
He said: "The three points has dragged Stoke back into it. We have leapfrogged a few and bought others into it. We need to keep the momentum and confidence going into the next few games.
"We passed a big test. We took a lot of criticism over the course of the season in terms of defending set-pieces and things like that.
"The best team at that are Stoke with their physicality and the way they put the throw-ins and corners into the box. But I thought we dealt with it fantastic.
"Bakes and Ron were brilliant. They won headers and second balls.
"I blame myself for the goal. I slipped. But other than that I thought we defended fantastically."
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