Owen Coyle lavished praise on Stuart Holden following his impressive display in his first game back after a six-month injury lay-off.
Holden played a starring role as the Trotters saw off Aston Villa 2-0 in the Carling Cup third round and showed no ill-effects of the knee ligament injury which was a result of a tackle by Jonny Evans.
Coyle made nine changes to the team that lost against Norwich but goals from Chris Eagles and Gael Kakuta at Villa Park were enough to put them through to the last 16.
"Considering Stuart has been out for so long after an horrendous injury, for him to play with such intensity and at the level he did tonight, was great," said Coyle.
"I've always said we are a better team with him in it, not just because of his workrate but also the quality he brings when on the ball."
Coyle was delighted with the response of his revamped team.
He said: "It was important after how poor we were on Saturday to bounce back and get a positive response - and we got it.
"The intensity and quality was good from start to finish. Aston Villa had been unbeaten and, given the strength of their side, it was important we were at our
"This result and performance has given everyone a welcome boost. We picked ourselves up and performed from start to finish."
Villa manager Alex McLeish had no complaints about his side's exit from the
competition he won last season with Birmingham.
The Scot said: "We were not good enough on the night and did not deserve it.
"They got a break for their first goal before a break finish by Eagles and on their second half performance deserved their victory.
"We had our moments in the first half but we never troubled the keeper enough. We got into some good crossing positions but never made the impact we wanted.
"Now it is up to the team to bounce back. That is the reaction I am looking for."
And McLeish accepted the boos from the Villa fans at the final whistle after his side's first defeat of the season.
He said: "I thought they were great and stayed with us. If their team get beaten at home, they will not be happy but we are not unique in that respect."