Antonio Conte felt Danny Drinkwater improved after a poor start during Chelsea’s 3-1 win against Newcastle.
Drinkwater, a summer signing from Leicester, was given a starting place for the game at Stamford Bridge, where the home side came from behind to take the points with another fine performance.
He struggled early on but became increasingly influential as the game wore on.
Speaking at his post-match press conference, Blues boss Conte said: “Danny started the game like the team; a bit slow but then improved a lot.
“It’s great for me and for the team to have another option, especially when we play with three midfielders. To have another option is of vital importance.”
Eden Hazard was Chelsea’s star man, scoring twice as they picked up a sixth win in seven league matches.
And Conte was full of praise for the Belgian playmaker, who has been outstanding since returning from an ankle injury.
“He played a really good game. I think he enjoyed playing this type of football,” said Conte.
“Eden for us is an important player. With him we have change system – we can play him as a second striker or as a number 10. Today I saw a lot of good link-up and combination play.
“We must be pleased. It was a good answer from all of my players.”