Newcastle and England striker Michael Owen has revealed manager Kevin Keegan "has brought a real feel-good factor into the club".
After claiming his first win since returning to Tyneside at the ninth attempt, Keegan steered the Magpies to safety thanks to a six-game unbeaten run to bring the buzz back at St James' Park.
"It was never going to happen straight away. Not only did we have some tough games, but when he came, we had a lot of players low on confidence.
"But if you could ever ask for a man to pick people up and get the best out of them, it's Kevin Keegan."
Keegan has made £17million man Owen's retention beyond the confines of his current contract, which has a year to run, one of his main priorities, although that is now in the hands of owner Mike Ashley and the board.
The former Liverpool and Real Madrid frontman finished the last campaign with a flurry, taking his tally for the season to 13 goals, including seven in his last nine games, to underline his enduring quality in the box.
He added: "He obviously knows his stuff. He can see a player and he can see things that need tweaking.
"Tactically, he is very good. I think he has been a fantastic appointment for us and we have all enjoyed his time so far."