DIEGO Fabbrini's Millwall debut was curtailed to protect him from a possible injury, with the Italian playing for the first time in three months against Ipswich on Saturday.
Fabbrini, who joined the Lions just 24 hours before they faced the Tractor Boys, won the fans' man of the match award despite being substituted after 63 minutes.
The attacker looked bright and lively but has not been playing for parent club Watford in recent months, so boss Ian Holloway took a cautious approach with his fitness.
Bolton also wanted to sign Fabbrini but the 24-year-old agreed a 93-day loan deal at The Den last week.
"Diego could have gone somewhere else but he wanted to come here," said Holloway.
"It was a bit hectic for him with us going 2-0 down but I was delighted that the fans saw what quality he's got.
"I brought him off to protect him a little bit because he hasn't played for a while. He wanted to come here and be part of this."
Holloway was hugely relieved when Fabbrini agreed to join Millwall having been turned down by a string of other targets – among them Rotherham's Ben Pringle.
"Because of my scouting network we have struggled to get players in," he said. "We've targeted quite a few but they didn't want to come here.
"And the more you're in our situation, the worse it gets.
"The club needs to be set up so that we have extra scouting in case one of our targets doesn't want to come here – for all sorts of reasons.
"That might be where we are in the table, the rumours about us as club or the perceptions people have about Millwall.
"We need to out-scout everyone else because we get knocked back more times than in a game called swingball, which I used to play when I was a kid."