Manager Alan Pardew feels Newcastle are currently seeing the best of Joey Barton after the midfielder 'worked very hard' to turn his life around.
Despite impressing frequently on the pitch, Barton has often been in the headlines for the wrong reasons in the past following well-documented disciplinary problems.
But Pardew feels the 28-year-old is a changed man after producing another influential display in Tuesday night's 2-0 victory over Birmingham at St Andrews.
He said: "I have to say Joey has worked very hard at turning his life around.
"That has been projected onto the football pitch.
"We are getting the best of Joey Barton probably at anytime in his career.
"I thought he was very unlucky to get booked against Birmingham with some of the other challenges that went on.
"Maybe there is still a slight stain against him.
"But for me, and I can only take someone as I find them, Joey has been superb."
Pardew also heaped praise on Peter Lovenkrands and Leon Best, who both scored against the Blues and have been impressive since the departure of star striker Andy Carroll to Liverpool last month.
He added: "I think it is about getting the balance right and encouraging them and getting them to produce what is best for their particular game.
"They are not Shola Ameobi and they are not Andy Carroll. They are different types and we got the best out of them at Birmingham.
"I'm so pleased for Leon Best because I think there is a bit more pressure on him than Peter because he hasn't really done a great deal at the football club.
"But he produced a great performance at St. Andrews and can be proud of that."