Martin O'Neill is satisfied Aston Villa have taken a step in the right direction, after clinching a place in the group stages of the UEFA Cup.
Villa were held to a 1-1 home draw by Litex Lovech last night but came through the first-round encounter 4-2 on aggregate, having effectively sealed the tie in Bulgaria a fortnight ago.
Marlon Harewood scored his first goal of the campaign for a Villa side showing six changes, as several of their big-name players were rested for Sunday's Premier League match at Chelsea.
Villa are guaranteed four more European ties in their first campaign in the competition for seven years, since the John Gregory era. O'Neill said: "I am just really pleased we are through.
"We are in the draw on Tuesday, and I am really delighted. We have got some European evenings at Villa Park, which I am really looking forward to.
"I can't say I've talked to loads and loads of fans - but it is something they are definitely looking forward to."
Villa's reward came via an often dour second leg.
"It was hard to get excited by it," O'Neill admitted. "We were leading in the tie 3-1, a wee bit reminiscent of the previous round.
"I was amazed at the crowd that turned up (27,000) - because in essence, the tie was in a good position for us.
"Does it show Aston Villa are back? If I stop to think about it, that is right. Everyone has to fight for it, but it is a step in the right direction for the football club.
"We are into the proper stages, the group stages. The advantages by a million miles outweigh any disadvantage you have. We have got a chance now for younger players to experience this.
"We've earned it. I would have taken this way back in July - and now it is up to us to do what we can."
O'Neill is hoping the likes of Gareth Barry, Nigel Reo-Coker, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Martin Laursen, John Carew and Curtis Davies will be fresh for the trip to Stamford Bridge after being rested.
He said: "That was the idea of leaving them out. Sometimes you never know what might happen. But Gareth Barry was crying out for a break.
"He has played a lot of games, including internationals with England, and that will help him enormously.
"In normal circumstances I would also have looked to rest Stiliyan Petrov but I just wanted him to sit there in front of the back four and make sure we got through the tie."