Bolton manager Owen Coyle praised midfielder Stuart Holden after making his comeback from a six-month injury absence in his side's 2-0 win at Aston Villa in the Carling Cup.
Second-half goals from Chris Eagles and Gael Kakuta secured Bolton's place in the last 16 with a 2-0 victory. But it was midfielder Holden who caught the eye in his first start since suffering knee ligament damage in a challenge with Manchester United's Johnny Evans at Old Trafford six months ago.
Coyle said: "Considering Stuart has been out for so long after an horrendous injury, for him to play with such intensity and at the level he did was great. I've always said we are a better team with him in it, not just because of his workrate but also the quality he brings when on the ball."
Coyle was delighted with the response of his revamped team, which showed nine changes from the weekend defeat to Norwich.
He said: "It was important after how poor we were on Saturday to bounce back and get a positive response - and we got it.
"The intensity and quality was good from start to finish. Aston Villa had been unbeaten and, given the strength of their side, it was important we were at our best.
"This result and performance has given everyone a welcome boost. We picked ourselves up and performed from start to finish."
Villa manager Alex McLeish had no complaints about his side's exit from the competition he won last season with Birmingham.
The Scot said: "We were not good enough on the night and did not deserve it. They got a break for their first goal before a break finish by Eagles and on their second half performance deserved their victory.
"We had our moments in the first half but we never troubled the keeper enough. We got into some good crossing positions but never made the impact we wanted. Now it is up to the team to bounce back. That is the reaction I am looking for."
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