Newcastle boss Alan Pardew praised the manner in which Hatem Ben Arfa responded to being dropped at Cardiff, and believes it is a sign of the Frenchman's growing maturity.
The 26-year-old has been a talismanic figure for the Magpies, and had started their first six Barclays Premier League fixtures.
But, after Newcastle's abject first-half display in the 3-2 defeat at Everton, Ben Arfa was one of a trio of players to lose their places for the trip to south Wales.
The visitors grabbed an important 2-1 win, courtesy of Loic Remy's double, to alleviate some of the pressure Pardew has been under.
Ben Arfa was a late substitute, and gave Newcastle a valuable outlet as they attempted to stave off Cardiff's late surge for an equaliser.
Pardew said: "Hatem is a great player. His application and acceptance of the decision to leave him out was spot on and he is growing as a person.
"I think some of the things that get said about him are not true.
"He accepted it, he trained very well all week and he got his reward by walking off as part of a winning team."
Pardew also hailed the performance of another of his French contingent, after Yohan Cabaye turned in an outstanding individual display.
The midfielder, 27, had a troubled start to the season as he refused to play in their opening two fixtures after Arsenal made a bid to secure his services.
But he underlined his importance to the Magpies' cause by being at the heart of everything that was good in their victory at Cardiff City Stadium.
And Pardew felt his performance was as good as anything he has seen at the club, and reckons he will be even better after the international break.
"I told him in the changing room that the first half was as good as I have seen in a black and white shirt," Pardew said.
"He was truly at the top of his game.
"In the second half he worked hard for the team and showed a different side to his performance.
"He is not 100 per cent fit yet, which is nice for us to know. He needs a few more games to be battle hardened. He has got two games for France and I think that is a really good thing."
Cardiff came close to salvaging a point after being outplayed during the opening half.
Half-time substitute Jordon Mutch was the driving force behind their fightback, backing up his match-winning contribution at Fulham.
Manager Malky Mackay acknowledged the former Birmingham man's form was making a strong case for his inclusion in his starting XI.
The Scot said: "All my players are making a case for a start and he is a top young talent. He has a lot of talent.
"He has lots of facets to his game. There are areas where he can improve, but he took the game by the scruff of the neck.
"It's about players taking their chance."