Wellington Phoenix co-coach Chris Greenacre paid tribute to Kosta Barbarouses after the winger spearheaded the Kiwis' 5-0 drubbing of Newcastle Jets on Sunday.
Overlooked for New Zealand's latest round of World Cup qualifiers, Barbarouses responded in fine fashion with a goal and assist in an all-action display at Westpac Stadium.
After a slow start to his second Phoenix stint, Barbarouses has scored three goals and notched two assists in Wellington's past five matches.
"[Kosta] is always a threat. He was causing problems all evening," Greenacre told Sky Sport NZ.
"His pace gets him into good positions and it's good that the guys behind were releasing the ball for him.
"He should be very proud of himself tonight."
While Wellington needed three points to stay in touch with the top six, Greenacre revealed the Phoenix's coaching staff only set a simple task for their undermanned side.
Roy Krishna (Fiji), plus Andrew Durante, Glen Moss, Tom Doyle, Michael McGlinchey, Alex Rufer and Shane Smeltz (all New Zealand) were unavailable against the Jets.
"We asked for at least a good start because we didn't produce that last week," the former Wellington striker said.
"That hurt us badly, not being up for the game against Western Sydney.
"It was vital we got out of the blocks early doors… we competed very well for probably 20 minutes and then we thought our football really took over.
"To score five goals, we're absolutely delighted with every member of the squad."
Having watched the Jets' winless run stretch to seven games, Newcastle coach Mark Jones warned his squad's underperforming players to prove their worth or risk being dumped at the end of the season.
The visitors were outplayed from start to finish in Wellington as the defeat effectively ended Newcastle's hopes of playing in the finals
The Jets sit nine points behind sixth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers with three games remaining and have a significantly worse goal difference.
"[We will] look at the ones that are going to be around at the club next year and the ones that will show a bit more urgency and desire," Jones said.
"It was a make-or-break game today and that clearly wasn't good enough.
"We have to consolidate now, play out the rest of the year and show a bit of pride."
Newcastle's boss added: "Under pressure we broke.
"Then at the other end when we had opportunities we didn't take them."