The £6million signing from Tottenham gave a committed display until he was substituted soon after scoring with Lee Cattermole firing the late winner.
"He has presence, is a character and has confidence. He'll get hold of people and we need that. I felt that if he started the match he'd give the whole team a lift.
"He's not played any pre-season games so scientifically he shouldn't have been out there.
"But he wanted the challenge and that tells you the sort of character he is. He gave us confidence and was up for the fight.
"As his fitness gets better and we get used to what he's about, he'll give us more and more.
"We didn't know how long he'd last but he gave much more than we hoped for."
He continued: "After we scored we looked more likely to win. We grew in belief.
"We had the rub of the green but you have to work hard as a collective to get that.
"It's a first away win too - we waited until January last year for that last season.
"It wasn't pretty today but sometimes you have to scrap for things in this league."