Manchester United boss David Moyes believes Paul Lambert is finally reaping the rewards after putting his faith in Aston Villa's youngsters.
Lambert drafted a number of young players into the side last season after Villa owner Randy Lerner asked him to trim the wage bill.
This decision appeared risky as Villa struggled last season, but the Midlands club have perfomed well this campaign with the likes of Ciaran Clark, Nathan Baker and Ashley Westwood in their ranks.
Lambert's youthful side will face United on Sunday and Moyes is full of respect for his opposing manager ahead of the trip to Villa Park.
"Paul Lambert introduced a lot of young players in his first year or so," he said. "That was always going to be a hard task for him.
"At times young players can make mistakes or not be as consistent as you would like.
"Paul has got through the worst of that. It was a brave decision to do it and he has some exciting players now."
United's hopes of retaining the title appear more remote after last Saturday's defeat by Newcastle left them 13 points adrift of top spot.
Moyes insists his side still have plenty of time to close this gulf and hopes a win over Villa will move the champions in the right direction.
"We see this game as an opportunity," he said. "There is a long way to go in league, but we can only take one game at a time.
"Football is like that. Let's see what happens and maybe then we can talk about it later in the season.
"At moment we can't because we are too far away. We want to get closer and we will do everything we possibly can to do that."