Middlesbrough manager Garry Monk was delighted with the performance of his side after they recorded their fifth clean sheet of the season in a goalless draw.
Former Villa winger Adama Traore was sent off after just four minutes, but the home side could not take advantage before losing Henri Lansbury to a red card midway through the second half.
Monk said: “Playing against an experienced and a good team we were under no illusions.
“I thought we started the game exceptionally well on the front foot. But you have to face adversity. We did that after Traore was sent off so early in the match and that was the most pleasing aspect of the game for me.
“It was more than a point. It was good to see the true character and the true mentality of the group.
“There are a lot of new players in a squad gelling together. Knowing this will stand them in good stead going forward.
“We have to build from clean sheets and if we put together a strong defence ethic we will able to win games and be in a good position.”
The game exploded in dramatic fashion in only the third minute when Traore received a direct red card, taking out Conor Hourihane with a sliding tackle with both players finishing on the touchline.
Referee James Linington consulted his linesman before brandishing the red card.
Villa’s poor finishing was highlighted when Robert Snodgrass shot weakly straight at goalkeeper Darren Randolph.
The barren first half resulted in Villa drafting in Scott Hogan and Albert Adomah but the home side still conspired to make heavy weather of their task.
Five minutes into the second half Adomah produced a left wing cross which Snodgrass met with a shot which rattled the crossbar.
Both teams were on a level footing In the 63rd minute of an untidy game when Lansbury received a straight red card for needless tripping substitute Marvin Johnson.
Villa’s current plight was emphasised late in the game when Hogan himself blocked Hourihane’s shot while on Middlesbrough’s goalline.
Aston Villa: Johnstone, Elmohamady, Chester, Terry, Taylor, Lansbury, Jedinak (Hogan 46), Hourihane, Snodgrass, Davis (Kodjia 70), Bjarnason (Adomah 46). Subs Not Used: Samba, Whelan, Steer, Hutton. Sent Off: Lansbury (64). Booked: Snodgrass, Kodjia.
Middlesbrough: Randolph, Christie, Fry, Gibson, Da Silva, Traore, Leadbitter (Howson 72), Clayton, Downing (Johnson 46), Baker, Assombalonga (Fletcher 82). Subs Not Used: Konstantopoulos, Friend, Shotton, Bamford. Sent Off: Traore (4). Booked: Christie.
Att: 26,631 Ref: James Linnington