Rafa Benitez hailed Yoan Gouffran after he helped Newcastle United book their place in the last 16 of the EFL Cup.
Goals from Gouffran and Matt Ritchie gave the club a 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers last night.
He has been scoring great goals, especially from volleys.
A crowd of 34,735 saw Benitez’s side convincingly win a third-round tie against a team which had beaten them by the same scoreline in the Championship three days earlier.
Ritchie opened the scoring in the 29th minute with a low shot.
And Gouffran volleyed a Ritchie cross home to see off Wolves two minutes later.
United were willing to listen to offers for the 30-year-old forward – who scored against Derby County earlier this month with another superb volley – but he ended up staying at St James’s Park.
Newcastle have won every game Gouffran has featured in this season.
Asked about his goal, United manager Benitez said: “I am always happy when any player plays well, but in this case, Gouff has been working very hard from the beginning.
“He didn’t know what would happen in the future, but he was still working hard so I am happy for him. He has been scoring great goals, especially from volleys, so that is good.
“It is important for us, and for the players, to feel that there is a lot of competition.
“That is good for everyone. The players know they have to go on the pitch and do their best, and it doesn’t matter about the competition or the game.
“That is a key factor if we want to be strong and successfully manage the number of games we are going to play this year.”
Benitez was relieved that Gouffran did not leave St James’s Park in the summer transfer window.
“I was pleased with Gouff in pre-season,” he said. “I was expecting some offers for him, but we had one and that was not good enough.
“After that, I was expecting that another one would come, but we were watching him close and he was training really well.
“I was talking with my staff and saying that it could be better to keep him. I am really pleased for him, because when you have someone working so hard, he deserves some luck sometimes.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle have had their appeal over Vurnon Anita’s dismissal against Wolves in the Championship rejected.
Anita, sent off for a challenge on Ivan Cavaleiro, served the first game of an automatic three-match ban last night.
A club statement read: “A claim of wrongful dismissal regarding Vurnon Anita has been unsuccessful, following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing.
“The Newcastle United player was dismissed for serious foul play during the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 17th September.
“The player’s three match suspension, therefore, remains in place.”
Anita will also miss the Championship games against Aston Villa and Norwich City.