Cardiff manager Malky Mackay hailed the contribution of Peter Whittingham after the playmaker notched a hat-trick in a 3-1 npower Championship defeat of Wolves.
Whittingham scored twice in the first half to overturn Bakary Sako's early free-kick before sealing the win with an excellent set-piece of his own from 30 yards.
But Mackay, who has turned down transfer bids from Fulham and West Brom for the Bluebirds midfielder, believes the 27-year-old can still improve. Mackay said: "Whitts' overall performance is one of the reasons why he is central to what we want to do at this club. His overall game from central midfield is why I think he could play in the Premier League."
Mackay went on: "It pleases me that we have turned down two aggressive bids from Premier League clubs. But he knows where this club wants to go and he is keen to play his part in that and I'm delighted he has signed an extended contract.
"Whitts could be even better if he wants to be. He can still improve. He has added more to his game than when he was a luxury player when I was planning teams to play against him."
With the score at 1-1 Craig Noone was tripped by Tonga Doumbia, allowing Whittingham the chance to enhance his reputation as a free-kick specialist by curling an inch-perfect 30-yarder into the top corner.
Whittingham's opening goal came from the penalty spot and Wolves boss Stale Solbakken's was disappointed his side conceded fouls to allow Whittingham to show his class.
Solbakken said: "We talked long and hard about not conceding stupid free-kicks or penalties and we made stupid errors at important times in the game.
"We were 1-0 up and we didn't give ourselves the chance to hold onto our lead. I'm very disappointed at our stupid mistakes which cost us goals.
"Everyone can beat everyone in this division but we've lost quality players in the transfer window. Our new players will take time to bed into the side."
- Peter Whittingham
- Malky Mackay