MARK Hughes hailed the return of his captain by describing Joey Barton as 'different class.'
The Hoops midfielder (pic) had been unceremoniously dropped last week for the defeat at Sunderland - but bounced back to more than playhis part in the superb 2-1 home win over Arsenal.
Barton may be shy of the media, but wastes no opportunity to use Twitter to get his point of view ou there. And before the game, made use of his captain's match programme notes to berate fans for having a go at him during the last home match against Liverpool.
The player pleaded with fans to back the side and 15,000 did - much to Hughes's approval.
The manager said: "Joey got a lot of stick last time, but with the crowd's encouragement they willed him back to a good performance.
"He fronted up and pulled on the shirt, and you can't ask for much more."
Adel Taarabt's opener was cancelled out by Theo Walcott, before Samba Diakite scored a debut dream winner to restore hopes Hoops will beat the drop.
Hughes said: "Adel found it too easy last year in the Championship, but he's had to be more disciplined in this league and that part of his game is much improved.
"Samba was pretty green when he arrived, and he's had to learn quickly, but he's matured and although we have had good performances in our last three home games - this was the best of all.
"We kept our shape, our discipline and had a real understanding of what we worked on all week to get a result."