Fit-again Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has revealed he is unlikely to be back to optimum form and fitness before the Champions League last-16 first-leg visit of Barcelona on February 18.
The Argentina hitman returned with a goal 50 seconds into his comeback, after eight games out with a calf injury, in the 5-0 FA Cup third-round replay rout of Blackburn Rovers.
Aguero's return slightly ahead of schedule added further strength to a City side still chasing silverware on all four fronts.
City are unbeaten in 16 games - 14 of them victories - and have already scored a remarkable 99 goals in all competitions and play another Championship side in Watford in the fourth round on January 25, by when they are likely to have confirmed their place in the Capital One Cup final.
They travel to West Ham for the second leg of their semi-final next week leading 6-0 after the first meeting and the 25-year-old Argentine told City TV: "I'm very happy. I couldn't wait to come back. It's been a great recovery.
"I trained with the team on Monday for the first time and here I played some minutes to start bringing myself back on form and to find my pace to play in such a fast football game.
"Maybe in a week I'll be on top form. Obviously the more you play the better you feel. Against Barca I will be ready.
"But we still have time and first we need to think about the next Premier League games which are very important, and then we'll think about Barca.
"I hope I can play a little bit longer on Saturday and take it step by step."
City, a point off the top, have won all 10 of their home league games to date, scoring 38 goals in the process and welcome struggling Cardiff to the Etihad on Saturday.
Aguero added: "I think we are doing very well. We have improved a lot since the beginning of the season. We must keep working like that. We are all playing very well.
"We are building a great team and we need to continue trying to score more goals."