Andrey Arshavin has put his early impact at Arsenal down to the physical nature of the English game.
The supremely-gifted forward fully expected a footballing culture shock after arriving from his native Russia in January, and scored a modest two goals in his first nine games.
But rather than nullifying his game, Arshavin believes the hands-on approach of some Premier League defenders has forced him to modify his talents.
That bore fruit with his sensational four-goal performance against Liverpool and the Euro 2008 star reckons his game has already improved in England.
"I didn't expect it to be easy to adapt to English football," he told the Evening Standard.
"In Russia, I never had to face such physical battles. If I jumped for the ball and a defender pushed me in Russia, the whistle would blow every time. Here it never does.
"But it's up to me to change what I do on the pitch - better movement, quicker decision-making.
"I'm not afraid to be in a battle but if it's a Micah Richards or a Robert Huth I'm up against, I'm only half their size!
"When the defenders are that big, you can't fight them. You have to use your brain against them."
Arshavin also believes the quality of his Arsenal team-mates has helped take his game to another level.
Although his former club Zenit St Petersburg have established themselves as Russia's biggest club and won last season's Uefa Cup, he has noticed a marked difference between the two clubs on the training ground.
"Zenit are a very good club, the richest in Russia," Arshavin added.
"In a way, they are the public face of football in Russia. Playing for them, it's almost as if you're representing the country as well. Good players, good facilities; the training is not so different, once a day.
"The real difference is that the average ability of the players at Arsenal is higher. They're harder to play against in training!"