Newcastle manager Alan Pardew backed captain Fabricio Coloccini, who has been under-fire in the infancy of the Premier League season.
Centre-back Coloccini is the leader of the defence on Tyneside, overseeing a backline that has conceded 11 goals in five league appearances.
Pardew is under immense pressure to stay in the managerial role, however the former Southampton boss is also aware of the pressure the Argentine 32-year-old is under.
But Pardew hailed Coloccini's leadership - with Newcastle unbeaten in their past two in all competitions, despite conceding four goals in that run.
"I thought the character was emphasised by the captain, who was in a different league to every other player on the pitch in his position," Pardew said.
"That was the example we needed."
Pardew disputed claims top-flight teams do not care about their League Cup fortunes, after the north-east England club progressed with a 3-2 extra-time win over Crystal Palace.
"What we say is the Premier League is more important and I don't think any Premier League manager would disagree with that," he said.
"But it's a competition we want to do well in for our fans.
"We want to win every game whatever the team we put out. We made six changes but I don't think it took our level down.
"I think our level stayed the same and that's a compliment to those six players."
Newcastle are away at Stoke City in league action on Monday.