Mark Hughes believes Adel Taarabt is now gaining game intelligence and has backed the QPR star to go on to fulfil his potential.
Taarabt came back to haunt his former club Tottenham on Saturday by curling home a 25-yard free-kick to give QPR a priceless 1-0 victory at Loftus Road.
While he was then sent off after kicking the ball away as Spurs prepared to take a free-kick, Hughes, who took over at Loftus Road in January, believes the 22-year-old can push on if he continues to listen and learn.
Hughes said: "Adel is now gaining game intelligence. It was always a criticism that he was possibly lacking in that in the past.
"Sometimes he would do great things in the wrong areas and other times he would make a pass when he should have retained possession, but now his understanding of the game and what is required is getting much better.
"He has obviously embraced what I have tried to tell him and it's a credit to him that he has taken it on board.
"He is still a young player. He is maturing and I think he understands that if he is going to be the player that his talent deserves then he has to listen to people like myself and the guys around him.
"If he does that and shows that discipline he will be a great player."
Taarabt was sent off for a second bookable offence on Saturday but Hughes thought his star player should not have been dismissed.
"Maybe he didn't hear the whistle," the QPR boss said.
"Maybe that's where the law's an ass. Maybe a little bit of common sense should have prevailed but unfortunately referees aren't allowed to do that."
QPR, meanwhile, face Chelsea next weekend in what will surely be a fiery-tempered affair at Stamford Bridge.
The reverse fixture between the two teams in October ended with John Terry accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand - a charge the Blues skipper denies.
The customary pre-match handshake between the two teams had to be abandoned when they met in the FA Cup in January amid fears the QPR players would snub Terry, but Hughes does not know what will happen this weekend.
He said: "I haven't thought that far ahead. (Terry) has a busy week.
"Perhaps he won't play."