Alex McLeish hailed his Aston Villa side for passing "the ultimate test" of their defensive frailties after they battled to a hard-earned point against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.

Villa went into the match having conceded a higher percentage of goals from set-pieces than any team in the league, but held firm against a Potters side renowned for their aerial prowess.

Having seen his team hit the woodwork through Emile Heskey in a drab first half, McLeish felt a point was the least Villa deserved, and said: "It would have been a travesty to lose that game. Stoke are a massive threat with their throw-ins, the free-kicks and corners, but my lads were excellent."

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