Chris Hughton hailed two-goal hero Shola Ameobi after Newcastle dumped Chelsea our of the Carling Cup at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea went ahead in the second minute through young left-back Patrick Van Aanholt only for United to storm back and lead at the interval thanks to goals from Nile Ranger and Ryan Taylor.
Ameobi made it 3-1 to United four minutes after the restart but two goals from Nicolas Anelka (69, 86) looked to have taken the tie into extra-time.
However, Ameobi headed the winner from a Jonas Gutierrez corner in the 90th minute to earn special praise from Hughton.
"Shola showed why he is still at this football club," said Hughton.
"He has had periods at the club where injuries have hindered his progress. That was the case last season. But on this form he is top player."
Hughton was delighted with his team's victory but disappointed by the penalty award when Chelsea defender Alex went down under the challenge of substitute Cheik Tioti four minutes from time.
"The equaliser for them to get back 3-3 was the softest penalty you will ever see and it got them back in the game," added Hughton.
"I didn't think it was a penalty. That is an understatement. It disappointed me because at that stage we hang on and win 3-2. If we had not got the winner and it had gone to extra-time, it would have been a travesty.
"This was a game that most people felt we couldn't win irrespective of what side they put out.
"It speaks volumes for the players in the changing room. Hopefully it will give us the momentum to go into the next few games."
Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti was more concerned with injuries to Gael Kakuta, Yossi Benayoun and Salomon Kalou than he was by their Carling Cup exit.
The loss of two key players and a talented youngster were uppermost in the mind of the Italian coach ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester City at Eastlands.
Kakuta was replaced at half-time after a tackle by Taylor left the France youngster suffering with a back problem while Kalou and Benayoun pulled up with thigh and calf injuries respectively.
Ancelotti confirmed that both Benayoun and Kalou will miss the game against Manchester City.
"Kakuta had a problem on his leg after the tackle in first half while Benayoun's injury is his calf and Kalou hurt his thigh," said Ancelotti.
"We will know more tomorrow but they don't look good. The will miss the next few games.
"These things can happen in football. It was a strong tackle on Kakuta and he was unlucky. The problem with his back is from the fall."
Ancelotti was at odds with Newcastle bench when the Italian waved an imaginary card at referee Phil Dowd in a bid to get Taylor sent off in the second half.
"I tried because this is football," he joked.
"Maybe it is the last time I do this. I was excited because the match was very good.
"We were 3-1 down with 10 men and I was excited by this but I showed respect for everyone."