Alan Pardew believes Leon Best has answered his critics at Newcastle United and has challenged the striker to maintain his form.
Best did not feature under Pardew's predecessor Chris Hughton during the early months of this season and had to wait until the New Year to make his first appearance of the campaign.
He has grasped his chance in the side by scoring six times in 10 Premier League appearances and his goals have gone some way towards softening the blow of Andy Carroll's sale to Liverpool.
Pardew insists he has not been surprised by the 24-year-old's form, but acknowledged there were plenty who doubted if Best had a future at St James' Park.
Newcastle's boss feels the former Coventry City forward has proved his credentials, but is urging Best not to rest on his laurels during the closing weeks of the season.
"I wouldn't say I have been surprised, but I am pleased for him because the feeling was that he was going to leave the club from a lot of people, including people within the club," said Pardew.
"He has answered a few critics in the short spell he has had.
"But of course, there are still another nine games to go and he needs to keep on where he is and make sure he is at the level at which he has been playing for the last few games, which has been terrific."