Ashley Westwood says Aston Villa are 'a real team now' with boss Paul Lambert having instilled a 'never-say-die spirit'.
Villa had to call upon all of their battling qualities on Monday as they fell two goals down to local rivals West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.
A much-improved second-half display saw them surge back to claim a point, with Westwood's spectacular 25-yard drive hauling the scores level.
The 23-year-old midfielder claims Villa always believed they were capable of finding a route back into the game, with the Midlands outfit stronger mentally for all they have been through as a group.
He said in the Daily Mirror: "We never give in, we never say die. It shows our spirit. The gaffer's instilled that in us. We're a real team now.
"Last year many said we crumbled, but we're a different team, we're stronger and we're in it together. Everyone, even the new lads coming in, are buying into the philosophy we want to instil.
"That showed in the second half against West Brom, when the boss told us to play the game not the occasion. You can get caught up in things like that.
"Second half against West Brom we were terrific, showed spirit and got a point. If we play like that, we'll be a real force."
Villa have edged five points clear of the relegation zone over recent weeks and Westwood is confident they can avoid being dragged into another basement battle - having spent much of last season sweating on their Premier League status.
He added: "The last few games we've done well - we beat Man City, so we are on the right track.
"Half the lads here know what it's like near the bottom of the table and we don't want that to happen again."