McLeish has had to contend with a lengthy injury list and had to include several Academy products.
But Villa managed to avoid relegation with a game to spare via the home draw with Tottenham on Sunday.
McLeish said: "The young lads have coped great and showed a lot of bottle and said `let me into the team'.
"That's what we want. I'm not looking for players who can't handle the pressure.
"We need players here who can go in front of the crowd and express themselves."