Manuel Pellegrini believes Yaya Toure will once again be the devastating force he was in Manchester City's 2013-14 title-winning campaign after the Ivorian got his season off to a flying start with a brace in the 3-0 win at West Bromwich Albion.
The City manager admitted the 32-year-old endured difficult times last season, with doubt where his future lay and mixed performances following a summer when his brother died and his agent provoked a row with the club.
But Toure scored 24 goals in the previous season, as he became only the second central midfielder in Premier League history to strike 20 times in a season and he showed similar form at the Hawthorns.
Pellegrini told Sky Sports: "We will see the Yaya of a season ago, not last season when he had so many problems."
Raheem Sterling made his competitive debut for City and Pellegrini said, "He had two clear chances to score, but it is normal, he is starting to play with new mates. Maybe it was not his best performance, but I thought he made 65 or 70 minutes in a good way."
"If he continues to play like this I am sure he will be the player we bought," he concluded.
Captain Vincent Kompany scored City's other goal and Pellegrini praised his team for their attacking efforts and, after calling on them to improve their defensive record this season, was happy to keep a clean sheet.
"I am always pleased when my team scores," Pellegrini added. "I like attacking football, I like to see my players playing in a technical way, so I think the first 30 minutes we did really well.
"After that when you score, it is important to score more goals but not with an unbalanced team. We also kept a clean sheet and for me that is important."
City are trying to sign Wolfsburg midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, who wants to join them, but Pellegrini shrugged off talk for a deal for the Belgian as "just rumours."
And he warned of complications in recruiting, adding: "It is not easy because there are a lot of clubs with money to buy players. Maybe all the clubs go for the same players. The top clubs, they don't want to sell."