Roberto Mancini thinks Carlos Tevez will be back to his best this season after the Argentine's spectacular goal helped Manchester City to a 3-2 victory over Chelsea in the Community Shield.
Tevez lashed a shot into the top corner to nudge City into the lead during the second half at Villa Park after Yaya Toure had cancelled out Fernando Torres' opener. The game turned after Branislav Ivanovic was sent off just two minutes after Torres had scored.
The Premier League champions stepped up a gear in the second half scoring through Toure, Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri. Ryan Bertrand pulled a goal back to set up a nervy finish but City held on to win their first Community Shield since 1972.
And Mancini believes Tevez has a vital role to play this campaign after last season was dominated by his dispute with City's manager, and his subsequent decision to spend six months in Argentina.
Mancini said: "I am very happy because Carlos this year has worked very well in pre-season, and his form is better than last year. Also this year he wants to play football. For a player, it is difficult when he does not play. Last season he did not play for six months and this is difficult.
"I expect him to be a very important player. He is a top player if he wants to play. Last year we had Carlos for the last 10 games and it was important because he scored five or six goals.
"But he was not 100%. This year is the first time in four or five years he has done a pre-season and, for every player, this is important.''
Mancini was satisfied with his team's performance, as they deployed a 3-4-1-2 formation, and created plenty of goalscoring opportunities. "It was a good performance. When Chelsea were leading 1-0, we played better.
"With the sending-off, it was difficult to see from the bench but it is an advantage to play with an extra player. It had an impact on the game. It is impossible to say no because 11 versus 11 is different. But we played better than Chelsea, played better football.''
The Community Shield triumph was tempered with some bad news for City as Roberto Mancini confirmed Micah Richards was set to miss a month with an ankle injury he picked up while on duty for Team GB at the Olympics.
Mancini said: "With Micah, we thought it was a small injury but instead he will longer. He has a problem with his ankle, a big problem maybe, and it may be one month out.''
Goalkeeper Joe Hart was also ruled out with a back problem which meant he hasn't been selected for England's friendly with Italy on Wednesday. Mancini said: "Joe had a problem yesterday with his back but I don't think it is serious.''
Unsurprisngly, Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo claimed the turning point in the game was Ivanovic's red card, as he was dismissed for a two-footed sliding tackle on Kolarov.
He said: "It changed the game in favour of Manchester City. We competed very well and at that point were in the lead. It was difficult in the second half against 10 men.
"The challenge had no intent to hurt the opposition. It was a sliding tackle and he got the ball as well. Sometimes a red card is given in those circumstances, sometimes it is not. But there was no intention to harm the opponent.''
Di Matteo was happy with the performance of Eden Hazard as he urged all his players to pitch in to help fill the void left by Didier Drogba."He was lively, caused a few problems, had a couple of opportunities, we saw glimpses of his quality, and he will be a big success for us.
"Fernando (Torres) was also dangerous in what was his first 90 minutes since coming back into training under three weeks ago. But we have to share the responsibilities for goals between the team - Hazard, Torres, Ramires, (Juan) Mata, (Daniel) Sturridge, (Frank) Lampard can all score goals.''