Aston Villa stood up to West Ham's aerial bombardment to secure a much-needed Premier League win.
So says Joe Royle after watching Paul Lambert's side register their first victory in the top division for nine games - the Villans last took three points at Liverpool on December 15 - and shoot themselves out of the relegation zone.
Christian Benteke netted from the penalty spot (74) and Charles N'Zogbia whipped in a free-kick (78) as the Midlanders downed the Hammers 2-1 at Villa Park.
But former Man City and Everton boss Royle told Sky Sports HD that he was most impressed by the hosts' defensive solidity - despite Ashley Westwood scoring a late own goal (87).
"They didn't get the clean sheet they wanted but they defended better," Royle said of Aston Villa, who slipped out of the Capital One and FA Cups to lower-league opposition in January.
"It was last-ditch defending rather than sophisticated defending because West Ham didn't offer a sophisticated threat as everything was directed to Andy Carroll - but Villa defended well and they will take great pleasure from that.
"It was inspired from Lambert to bring on Darren Bent as a substitute - not because of what he did going forward but because he kicked one off the line when it was 0-0.
"And (Villa goalkeeper) Brad Guzan did well again; he is a good shot-stopper and not afraid to come for a cross, either."
Meanwhile, on the performance of Villa midfielder N'Zogbia, Sky Sports pundit Ray Wilkins added: "He did some good things.
"He was fouled by Mark Noble for the penalty and scored a well-taken free-kick, although I think Jussi Jaaskelainen was probably too far over to his right-hand side in the West Ham goal."