Brazilian defender Bernardo has grafted through a "difficult period" to prove his Premier League class, according to Brighton boss Chris Hughton.
Bernardo traded RB Leipzig for Brighton in a £9million deal the summer, only to struggle for first-team football on his arrival at the Amex Stadium outfit.
The 23-year-old conjured a man-of-the-match showing in Brighton's 1-1 league draw with Leicester however – leaving Seagulls manager Hughton impressed with his work ethic.
"Firstly we knew his abilities when he came; it's all about the competition in our squad," said Hughton.
"It's probably been quite difficult for him. When you come in as a new player you want to get into that team straight away.
"Probably after the first game he did play it's been a difficult period for him.
"But you can react in different ways: you can go the route that's not advisable, or you can knuckle down. And knuckle down is exactly what he's done.
"He's a bright lad, he appreciates that it's a different way here.
"And the requirements of perhaps how he played last year or last season is just that little bit different from what we want.
"So sometimes it just takes that little bit longer to adapt, and if you are prepared to work really hard during that period of time, there are always going to be those opportunities.
"So I'm pleased for him, but he's also someone who has very much knuckled down to it."
Hughton expects Brighton to deploy the versatile Bernardo most frequently at left-back, but admitted the importance of his ability to slot into other roles.
"Probably the longer he's here we'll get the feel for him in other positions," said Hughton.
"We see him as predominantly a left-back who can play right-back.
"Even last season at his last club he played a lot of games at right-back, and he can also operate in midfield.
"But we see him mainly as a left-back, that can play at right-back."
Hughton's men will make the trip north to face Huddersfield on Saturday seeking to end a run of three matches without a league win.
Despite the recent setbacks, Hughton has told his players to keep calm and carry on chasing positive results.
"We've seen in the last two games decisions that have gone against us that have cost us goals," said Hughton.
"And that's the nature of the game. Sometimes you can play well and not get the result that you want.
"And arguably when we had three very good results they were probably results that could have gone either way. So you have to ride these things.
"Most importantly is when you get a bad result you have to put that to one side as quickly as possible, because there's going to be a challenge coming up in the next game."