Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes fans will see midfielder Yaya Toure back at his best this season.
Toure scored twice as City kicked off their Premier League campaign with a routine 3-0 win against West Brom at The Hawthorns on Monday.
The Ivory Coast international opened the scoring in the ninth minute, albeit with some help from a deflection, before he guided a superb effort beyond WBA goalkeeper Boaz Myhill to double City’s lead 15 minutes later.
Pellegrini heaped praise on the 32-year-old, who was uncharacteristically below par last season as City failed to retain their Premier League crown.
“I’m very happy for him and the team because he is a very important player for us,” Pellegrini told reporters.
“I always said last season that it was a strange season for Yaya. He started with a lot of problems, the death of his brother and a lot of problems with his agent.
“So I think maybe he was not focused on what he had to do but we spoke long before the season and I am sure we are going to see the same Yaya as two seasons ago.”
Toure looked set to depart Manchester at the end of 2014-15, with Inter and Paris Saint-Germain both interested, having signalled his intention to leave after coming in for heavy criticism.
The Ivorian’s agent, Dimitri Seluk, also felt his client was made a scapegoat, despite scoring 10 goals in 29 appearances for City during their unsuccessful title bid last term.
Pellegrini added: “I don’t think Yaya deserved the amount of criticism he received last season. Maybe it was not his best season but he did not play as bad as people said.
“I am sure last season that his head was not in the best moment.”