Manuel Pellegrini feels West Ham playmaker Manuel Lanzini has returned as good as ever following his long-awaited comeback from injury.
Argentina midfielder Lanzini suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament while on international duty prior to last summer's World Cup, and there were initial fears he could be out for a year.
But Lanzini returned four months ahead of schedule and made his first appearance as a substitute against Fulham on Friday night.
The 26-year-old received a huge ovation and certainly looked as though he had never been away, giving the Fulham backline plenty to think about and creating a couple of chances to score.
And Hammers boss Pellegrini revealed he had no doubts about putting Lanzini on the pitch despite his rapid recovery.
"Manuel has worked very hard during the last few weeks," he said.
"But over these two last weeks with us he demonstrated to me that he was not afraid of playing again and he did it very well."
Lanzini's cameo capped a positive night for West Ham, who recovered conceding Ryan Babel's third-minute opener to win 3-1 thanks to goals from Javier Hernandez – albeit with his hand – Issa Diop and Michail Antonio.
Antonio was delighted to have his attacking team-mate back alongside him.
"They call Manu 'the jewel' and that's exactly what he is," said Antonio.
"He is a special player and hopefully he can come back and keep pushing us up the table."
The outlook for Fulham remains bleak in the relegation zone, but manager Claudio Ranieri is not giving up the fight.
"I believe in all of my players," he said. "They lack in experience, but they have a very big heart. They have to believe something can change."