Chris Hughton believes Birmingham are starting to see the best of winger Jean Beausejour as he praised the players who have helped the club recover from the summer fire-sale.
The Chile international survived the exit of more than a dozen players after Birmingham's relegation from the Premier League only three months after winning the Carling Cup. Beausejour gave an indication of his ability in the 2-2 home draw with Club Brugge on Thursday night which kept City's hopes alive of reaching the last 32 of the Europa League.
"I thought Jean was excellent. It was Jean who gave the ball away for their second goal, but we saw the fighting spirit in him and I think he felt he needed to do something (to make amends)," said Hughton after Beausejour won the penalty for Marlon King's equaliser.
"Jean has been good for us, getting stronger with every game, and that's what we want from him. We want him to have an impact in games. That is what he is starting to have. He is an exciting player."
Hughton has been a diplomatic figure amongst the continuing rumours that City may have to sell more players during the January transfer window. But he has performed wonders in putting together a side unbeaten in nine matches which is in contention for a promotion play-off spot and in second spot in their Europa League group.
"We had to cut our cloth after going down," Hughton said. "The Championship is full of teams that have done that. We came through a difficult summer period and there were players who went. We wish all the best to the ones now playing their football elsewhere.
"But not enough is said about the current ones who knuckled down who pushed for places, and for me it's certainly about them. For me the important factor is what is going on out on the pitch. If we do well there, it generally keeps fans happy and you will get a bit of a feelgood factor."
Hughton has also managed to assemble a squad where there is competition for places after making eight changes for the Brugge game from the side which had faced Brighton four days earlier.
He said: "What we have in the group at the moment is real competition. You can say it was seven or eight changes against Brugge. But look at it the other way and there were only two changes from the team that won away to Brugge in Colin Doyle and Jean Beausejour. It also gives me the opportunity to use the squad and keep that real competition for places.
"There isn't anyone in the squad at the moment that can say they haven't had games and that helps keeps the squad happy and keeps competition for places. It is also a nice feeling when you are on a good run and we want to keep it going."