Roberto Mancini admits he is concerned about the form of his Spanish playmaker David Silva who has been putting in below-par displays in recent weeks.
The 26-year-old looked worth every penny of his £26million move from Valencia a year before when he was taking the Premier League by storm at the start of the season.
Eyebrows were raised by some at his lacklustre performance in Manchester City's 3-3 draw against Sunderland where he taken off before the hour.
His dip in form has coincided with a stumble in City's title push but despite this Mancini was quick to defend the World Cup winner.
"I don't know how many games David has played for us in the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, Carling Cup, FA Cup plus internationals," said Mancini.
"But it's normal that a player can arrive at a moment when he can't play 100 per cent."
That Sunderland match was his 46th appearance of the season so far for both club and country and Mancini is hoping he can shake off his end of season blues and finish the campaign with a flourish - reigniting their championship charge in the process.
"David always plays here [indicates high level with hand] and now maybe he is here [drops hand lower to chest]," he added. "This is normal, but I hope he can recover."