Wolfsburg playmaker Diego said the club's players had been "relieved of a burden" after the sacking of coach Felix Magath.
The Wolves - in their first game under caretaker coach Lorenz Gunter Kostner - won 4-1 away to Dusseldorf, with 27-year-old Diego scoring one and making one. The goals were Wolfsburg's first in 458 minutes of Bundesliga action.
"That was fun. We took pleasure in those 90 minutes," the Brazilian said. "We played football again - the players were relieved of a burden. The attitude was different, and we did not fear making mistakes."
When asked about Magath, Diego did not even use his name and instead concentrated on praising the impact made by Kostner, saying: "Our new coach is very intelligent and clever. You could realise that even when he first addressed the team.
"He respects the players and gives them confidence. That's very important."
Diego, who celebrated his goal with the Wolfsburg bench, had often had a stormy relationship with Magath.
During his first stint at Wolfsburg, in 2010-11, the Brazilian walked out of the team hotel after a team meeting before the relegation clash against Hoffenheim, and was loaned to Atletico Madrid for the 2011-12 season.
Magath had tried to sell him over the summer, kicker reported, with the magazine saying the player was told to fly back to Brazil to hold talks with FC Santos.
But he refused to leave Germany and told kicker: "Those were tough days for me. I always wanted, and still want, to help the team."