Sunderland boss Gus Poyet is convinced he can make Lee Cattermole a better player after watching him star in a precious derby victory over Newcastle.
The 25-year-old midfielder, who might have left the club during the summer after finding himself on the wrong side of former manager Paolo Di Canio, turned in a typically combative display to set the Black Cats on the road to a first Barclays Premier League win of the season just when they needed it most.
He made way to warm applause as Poyet introduced the more creative Ki Sung-yueng in an ultimately successful bid for three points, and his reception from his manager was just as heartfelt.
The Uruguayan said: "I am sure we are going to make Lee a much better player than what people think, and that tells you how important he is for the football club.
"He is paying attention, he is always asking questions, he is always learning and if someone needed to play in this game above any game, it was Lee Cattermole, so there was no doubt in my mind about who was starting in the middle.
"Then, of course, you have got options, but I am sure he is going to be much better, and I hope he is going to keep helping us."
Cattermole departed with the scoreline standing at 1-1 and Newcastle looking the more likely to find a winner as time ran down.
They had dragged themselves back into the game 12 minutes after the restart courtesy of full-back Mathieu Debuchy's first goal for the club, which cancelled out Steven Fletcher's fifth-minute opener.
Alan Pardew threw on derby specialist Shola Ameobi in the search for a decisive goal, but it was fellow replacement Fabio Borini who claimed the headlines with a sumptuous 85th-minute strike which dispelled the clouds over the Stadium of Light and in the process, lifted Sunderland from the foot of the league table.
Asked about his emotions, Poyet said: "I think I am going to sleep well tonight, I am going to sleep very well tonight. It's going to be like I played the game myself, I chased the ball, I celebrated.
"I was close to running to the corner, but I was trying to tell a few players what to do, so I didn't know which was the most important one.
"Yes, it's a lot. Some people don't realise, it's incredible."
Pardew's emotions were understandably different on a day when a chance to avenge last season's 3-0 home defeat to the Black Cats slipped from their grasp.
He said: "I feel really disappointed for our fans and for the team because I don't think they deserved that, I think they deserved to win.
"They just switched off a little bit, professionalism, and it cost us. We are very disappointed, as you would imagine.
"When you concede a goal in the 84th minute when you have bossed the game, that's tough to take."