Olof Mellberg says that the arrival of John Carew means that Aston Villa have more scope to vary their tactics and can now turn the long ball into an art form.
Too often in the past, Villa have struggled towards the end of matches because, when the pressure was on, they did not have a colossal striker who could hold the ball up.
Now, however, Carew has the physical presence and intelligence to take the heat off Villa defenders such as Mellberg, meaning that the long ball can be a useful approach to ease tension and allow the team to regroup.
Significantly, late in the match at home to West Ham last Saturday, when Carew had been substituted, Villa found themselves under pressure and nearly conceded an equaliser. Only fine goalkeeping by Thomas Sorensen and one particularly fine intervention by Wilfred Bouma kept Villa's lead intact.
Had Carew remained on the pitch, Villa might have ended the match in more composed fashion. In the event, they won 1-0, but it was a close-run thing.
"John Carew did well against West Ham, as he had at Newcastle in the previous match," Mellberg said. "He is a handful for defenders and, overall, did really well.
"It is always important to have a good start when you are a new player and to show your best side straight away. He has been working hard in both games as well, which I think the fans appreciate.
"It is early doors, though, but I think everyone can see what he can bring to the team. He is an outlet. We can vary our game.
"When he came off against West Ham, we really needed to play the ball a little bit more because we didn't have the long ball as an option, which can be good sometimes.
"When we've got 1-0 leads towards the end of the games, it can give us a bit of an outlet to have that big player upfront to hold the ball up for us. He seems a handful for defenders.
"We needed the points and so did they and they threw everything forward and Thomas Sorensen made a couple of great saves."
Now that the threat of relegation has subsided, Villa can think about the final weeks of the season with more optimism, even if their match away to Reading on Saturday is their last until March.
"We are on 32 points and I think things are looking up," Mellberg said. "That is what we have been trying to do all the time. It is just now that we have started to come that close to relegation. I don't think we had thought about it that much.
"But when we played West Ham, we saw that we were only nine points ahead and a loss against them would have really closed the gap so it was an important win. Hopefully, we can look up the table now.
"It is a little bit awkward that we have so few fixtures coming up. Even after the Watford game, we wanted to get going again straight away. In the middle of the season, you want to play games if you feel fit and fine. Ideally, you want to keep that going."
Martin O'Neill, the Villa manager, is hopeful that Chris Sutton can return to training. Sutton has not played since December because of an eye injury but the damage is easing and O'Neill has said that it is premature to suggest that the striker will miss the remainder of the season.
With a three-week break after the trip to Reading, O'Neill is looking into the possibility of taking the squad abroad on a training camp. This will provide an opportunity for bonding, as well as giving some players — the likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Gavin McCann — the chance to gain appropriate rest. Both have been playing through pain barriers.