Gary Mills praised the contribution of Michael Potts as York City ended a seven-game winless run with a 3-2 win at Rochdale.
Potts only made the starting line-up for Saturday's League Two encounter at Spotland after Peterborough recalled Daniel Kearns from his loan spell with the Minstermen.
And the diminutive midfielder made the most of his first start of the season, netting either side of a Jason Walker effort as the visitors raced into a three-goal first half lead.
"I was delighted for Michael," said boss Mills. "He came in for his first start and I know what he is capable of, but he showed everybody else just what he can do.
"He knows why he's not been in the side and I told him to show us what he can do and he certainly took the chance and I'm really pleased for him. He keeps smiling and stays positive even when he's not in team, he's carried on working hard and he's a credit to himself and the profession."
Mills was delighted with his side's performance, which left Rochdale with a mountain to climb at half time. Potts converted his first from close range after hesitancy in the Dale backline before Walker toe-poked a second 19 minutes in. Potts completed his brace with a persistent finish 10 minutes before the break.
Though the hosts pulled two goals back in the second half through Rhys Bennett and a Bobby Grant penalty, York were good value for the three points.
"That's how I want us to play," said Mills. "We deserved the win and we kept saying in recent weeks that if we take chances we create then someone would be on the end of a beating.
"My players were superb, we started well, our movement and ball retention were fantastic and if we could have repeated that in the second half we'd have scored six or seven. It was understandable that we came under a bit of pressure after half time, but I thought the second half was very even and overall deserve the win."