West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce hailed Stewart Downing's early-season form after the attacking midfielder was instrumental in Saturday's 3-1 win against his former side Liverpool.
Downing was again deployed at the tip of Big Sam's attacking diamond formation and he rewarded his manager by playing a key role in two of the Hammers' three goals. His free-kick from the right led to Winston Reid's opener and then he neatly fed Morgan Amalfitano in the dying minutes to complete the hosts' scoring.
"Stewart's been outstanding this season," Allardyce said. "Playing him in the middle has really worked. His talent is clear for everyone to see. The ball for Amalfitano's goal was superb. He gets more touches in the centre, I'm sure he's enjoying it."
While the manager insisted that everyone should savour the victory he was careful to add a note of caution that another stern test awaits on Saturday when West Ham travel to Manchester United. After two consecutive attacking displays that have delivered five goals and four points, he does not want his side to get ahead of themselves.
"Monday is another day, we could enjoy the result on Saturday but we need to make sure on Monday we get ready for Old Trafford, because that is a massive game.
"We can't dwell on the victory for too long. We can definitely enjoy it, but on Monday we'll get our feet back on the ground, and see what we can do at Old Trafford."
The Hammers started last Saturday's game emphatically as they raced to a two goal lead as Reid and Diafra Sakho scored inside the first seven minutes. Liverpool starlet Raheem Sterling lashed in a shot from the edge of the box to make it 2-1 at half-time, yet the first home win of the season was secured as Downing released Amalfitano to slot home.
"We couldn't have asked for a better start. We played a high pressing game today which is why we dominated Liverpool in the first half," Big Sam added.
"To score two goals in that early period really stunned the Liverpool players. We really played outstandingly well, and we deserved everything we've got today."
Sakho was also one of the standout performers as he scored an audacious lob from a tight angle. There were some questions post-match about whether the summer signing from Metz had meant to shoot, but Big Sam explained he was in no doubt it was a deliberate shot:
"Sakho definitely meant to score. He was ballistic when the Hull goal was given as an own goal. When the Dubious Goals Panel changed their minds you couldn't wipe the smile off his face.
"He loves scoring goals. For me he's gone under the radar because we signed Enner Valencia. But he scored 20 goals for Metz last year."