Alex McLeish is happy with the response of his young players at Aston Villa after throwing them in at the deep end.
The Scot used six players aged 23 or under for Saturday's 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield, in which Chris Herd's 10th minute goal was cancelled out by a late Luis Suarez strike.
Herd and Eric Lichaj, both 23, Barry Bannan, 22, and Nathan Baker, 20, all started while Andreas Weimann, 20, Gary Gardner and Samir Carruthers, both 19, came off the bench.
The average age of Villa's outfield substitutes was just 19-and-a-half and McLeish hopes all his younger players will develop into reliable first-team regulars.
"The first-half performance was great and I'm very proud of the young players, helped by the experienced players in the team," he said.
Time to recover
"Sometimes you have to find out the hard way when you are not sure if they are ready and then they go and produce performances like that.
"In terms of their application, we know that is the first thing we ask from them. But when they show us some of the qualities they have done in terms of possession and what we expect from them, then they have done well."
The point at Anfield ended a run of two defeats and eased some of the worries about Villa being sucked into a late relegation battle.
They have little time to recover, as on Monday they host Stoke, but McLeish believes the performance they put in will carry them through a second match in three days.
"Every one of them is ready to go again. They took great confidence from the display," he added.
"They invested an awful lot (of effort), but the confidence they have taken from that will let them go again."
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