The Chile midfielder had come under scrutiny after Swansea full-back Angel Rangel had claimed Cardiff had spent too much to sign him, and questioned his temperament.
"He was immense from first to last minute," said Mackay.
"In the first half it was more about organising and collecting second balls, but in the second half it was about having the courage to get on the ball at any point and get the game flowing and his amount of time on the ball in the second half must have been huge.
"Having said that, I am loath to pick out one guy, as I had a performance from my whole team and subs, a mature performance considering what they have had to endure."
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