Steven Gerrard was left impressed about the character of his Aston Villa side after they recorded a 1-0 victory over Everton on Saturday afternoon.
Despite the game lacking entertainment at times, Gerrard was delighted with the performance and clean sheet, hailing the result as "a big win".
Speaking to BT Sport, Gerrard said: "It's a big win for us. Credit to the players. It was a different style of game for us, especially in the second half. It was a case of us having to roll our sleeves up, stand up and be counted and really put our bodies on the line.
"It's difficult to rehearse what came our way in the second half. It was direct, it was coming regularly so we had to fight and compete and win second balls. And every single person stood up to that.
"In football there's different ways to win. but if you're not prepared to compete, especially away at Goodison, you'll be found out. We expected Duncan [Ferguson] to pour more fuel on the fire in the second half. We played big today and I'm really proud of the players.
"This performance was about grit, about steel. I asked the players to really commit because this game was going to ask us something quite alien which is defend long balls constantly and that's what we did."
Villa are not back in action until they play host to Leeds United on February 9.