Alan Pardew heaped praise on Yohan Cabaye after the Frenchman grabbed a late winner to hand Newcastle a 1-0 triumph over Wigan on Saturday afternoon.
The midfielder, a summer signing from Lille, broke the deadlock in the 81st minute, pouncing on a pass from substitute Sylvain Marveaux to fire home.
The strike marked Cabaye's first goal for the Magpies and manager Pardew was delighted with his contribution after admitting the France international almost did not feature due to a minor fitness problem.
"He nearly didn't play. He had a knock yesterday and a fitness test at the training ground today. So thank goodness he played," said the Toon boss.
"He's a class player. He's a class person, actually. He brings an elegance to the side.
"He's just a level-headed, good footballer. He's in an area where we've got competition. His quality shows every week."
He added: "I'm pleased he's hit a real cracker to get him off and running.
"The goal was special. Even if our fans were a little bit disappointed by our performance, it was worth the admission fee just for the goal."
Pardew admits his side were dominated by the visitors in the opening half but was impressed by their comeback in the second after his half-time pep talk.
"Great credit to Wigan in terms of their approach to the game," he added. "They played good football. They were faster and crisper than us.
"It was just resilience, a fantastic save from the goalie and some desperate defending that kept us in the game (in the first half).
"In the second half I thought we were better, after a little chat."
An unbeaten start to the season has left Newcastle sitting fourth in the Premier League, and Pardew insists it is more than good fortune keeping his side flying high.
"We appreciate that in the first nine games we've surprised even ourselves," he said.
"But there are times when you've got to look at a side and say it's got some quality in it. It must have to get 19 points. That doesn't just appear.
"We've had three or four games where perhaps people have said we were fortunate to win and we've had our share of luck. But there's also something else that suggests there is something in the team and we could have a big season.
"How big it is depends on results, of course, and how we perform when adversity comes. We haven't really had that yet. The side has really settled, the injuries have been good. So that helps."