Match ends, Derby County 0, Aston Villa 3.
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith said his side produced "a performance that merited the result" after his side eventually ran out comfortable winners at Derby County.
Scotland midfielder John McGinn nodded in Villa's opener from Yannick Bolasie's left-wing cross in the 75th minute and then turned provider for Tammy Abraham to double the lead.
Conor Hourihane's superb free-kick wrapped up Villa's first away win since their opening game of the season.
"I said today was an opportunity to draw a line in the sand about what we can be and they've certainly done that, but their standards are up there now and that's where we want them to stay," Smith told BBC WM.
"It gives everybody a boost. I said I wanted a team that was hungry and showed desire to go and create chances and we did that."
Villa ended Derby's six-match unbeaten run in the Championship, creating several good chances but failing to find the net until they scored three times in 11 minutes late on.
McGinn, Abraham and Jonathan Kodjia had all been guilty of wasting opportunities at Pride Park as Derby struggled to contain their visitors, and the hosts could not hold out.
Derby's best chances came in one frantic passage of play just before half-time, with Villa keeper Orjan Nyland keeping out efforts from Jack Marriott and Harry Wilson in quick succession.
Otherwise, Villa were on top for the most part and recorded their biggest win of the season to climb into the top half of the Championship table.
Smith was making his second visit to Pride Park this season, having lost 3-1 as Brentford boss in September, and it was starting to appear likely he would endure another frustrating afternoon against the Rams as the game headed towards the final 15 minutes.
However, McGinn ghosted in unmarked to score his second goal for the club and England international Abraham netted his fifth since joining on loan from Chelsea to put the result beyond doubt before Hourihane's free-kick capped a fine day.
Derby manager Frank Lampard:
"The first half was close and in the second half they were the better team, clearly, and created enough chances to win it probably by more.
"If we're not at it as we weren't in the second half against a team with the quality of Aston Villa that's what you get.
"We've had a great month and a game like this is actually a wake-up call and a reminder to all of us that this league is tough and if you underperform you'll get beaten and we need to make sure those games are rare."
- 3ForsythSubstituted forNugentat 80'minutes
- 7WilsonBooked at 90mins
- 44HuddlestoneBooked at 84mins
- 23HolmesSubstituted forMaloneat 70'minutes
- 20BennettSubstituted forJozefzoonat 51'minutes
- 14MarriottBooked at 90mins
- 3TaylorSubstituted forEl Mohamadyat 45'minutes
- 37AdomahBooked at 17mins
- 7McGinnBooked at 76mins
- 26KodjiaSubstituted forBolasieat 70'minutes
- 18AbrahamSubstituted forHoganat 87'minutes
- 27El Mohamady
- John Brooks
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Derby County 0, Aston Villa 3.
Offside, Aston Villa. John McGinn tries a through ball, but Albert Adomah is caught offside.
Foul by Scott Hogan (Aston Villa).
Harry Wilson (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Yannick Bolasie (Aston Villa).
Jayden Bogle (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Harry Wilson (Derby County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
John McGinn (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Harry Wilson (Derby County).
Attempt missed. James Chester (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jack Grealish with a cross following a set piece situation.
Jack Marriott (Derby County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
John McGinn (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Jack Marriott (Derby County).
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Jayden Bogle.
Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Florian Jozefzoon (Derby County).
John McGinn (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tom Lawrence (Derby County).
Substitution, Aston Villa. Scott Hogan replaces Tammy Abraham.