Roberto Mancini believes Manchester City can count on Carlos Tevez this season after his starring role in their Community Shield success.
Tevez scored a brilliant goal as City came from behind to win 3-2 against Chelsea at Villa.
The Premier League champions had been a goal down to a Fernando Torres strike but recovered after Branislav Ivanovic was sent off for an ugly challenge on compatriot Aleksandar Kolarov.
Goals from Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri and a stunning strike from Tevez won the game for City before Ryan Bertrand's late consolation and the City boss was pleased with the Argentine's display.
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."
While Mancini was happy with his team's performance, he accepted that Ivanovic's red card had made the task somewhat easier.
He added: "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."