Tony Pulis believes his Stoke City side's unbeaten start to the Barclays Premier League campaign, and successful qualification for the group stages of the Europa League is down to the experience of newly-acquired defensive duo Jonathan Woodgate and Matthew Upson.
The Potters boss was delighted to complete the free transfer coups of both players - who were out of contract at their respective clubs at the end of the previous campaign.
Having also completed deadline day deals for Peter Crouch, Wilson Palacios and Cameron Jerome, Pulis is assembling a side capable of not only cementing its place in the domestic division, but also making their mark in Europe as well.
"What's been really good is the fact that Woodgate and Upson have come in and done exceptionally well," Pulis told Sky Sports News. "Their experience alongside Ryan [Shawcross] has been what we've needed.
"We've got two young players in the heart of defence, in respect of [Asmir] Begovic and Shawcross, who are exceptionally good players and sometimes last year we lacked a little bit of experience."
The Stoke boss also reserved praise for some of the more long-standing players in his Britannia Stadium squad, and insisted that it is a collective effort that has got the club to where they are today.
"Huth is also a fantastic player," continued Pulis. "But Upson and Woodgate have got the experience that we maybe didn't have last year and we've got that now.
"If you look at the start of the season, I think one of the reasons we've done so well is because we've had that cool, experienced head at the back as much as anything else."