Tony Pulis was full of praise for defensive pair Robert Huth and Ryan Shawcross following Stoke's Boxing Day win at Blackburn.
Huth opened the scoring for the Potters at Ewood Park to contribute to the 2-0 triumph, while fellow stopper Shawcross helped keep out the home side with a solid display.
Pulis was delighted to get back to winning ways after defeat to Blackpool last time out, and reserved special commendation for his backline.
"The two lads at the back, Robert and Ryan, were absolutely outstanding today," Pulis told Sky Sports.
"You have to defend well and those two did. They were exceptional."
Matthew Etherington was instrumental in Huth's second-half opener after firing in a perfect delivery from a corner, but the midfielder subsequently sustained a knock to the leg, forcing Pulis to substitute him.
"Mattie got a kick on his knee and he's very sore at the moment," added Pulis. "He'll have a bit of attention and hopefully, fingers crossed, he'll be OK."
The three-point haul leaves the Potters eighth in the Premier League standings, and Pulis insists survival remains his priority this term if they want to challenge for more next season.
"Three years in the Premiership gives you enough time and money to establish yourself," he said.
"We need this, it's an important year for the football club. If we can stay in the Premiership for a third year, I think the club can push on then."