London - Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has insisted Stevan Jovetic still has a future with the English champions despite his decision to leave the Montenegro forward out of the club's Champions Legaue squad.
Jovetic, 25, has been omitted so that City can include new signing Wilfried Bony, who joined for a fee reputedly in the region of £28 million from Premier League rivals Swansea during the recent transfer window.
Due to financial fair play sanctions from European governing UEFA, City are restricted to 16 foreign players in their Champions League squad, not 17, and Ivory Coast forward Bony has got the nod at Jovetic's expense.
"It is always difficult to take a player out of the list, but we have restrictions this year," Pellegrini told a news conference on Friday.
"We bought Bony because I think that we need another striker, a box player, and in the position of Jovetic maybe we have some other options. It is a difficult decision but I think it was the best for the squad."
Pellegrini added: "He (Jovetic) continues being a very important player here. Maybe if we didn't have the restriction of financial fair play, we would not do it -- we would have another place.
"But we do have the restrictions, and I think he is a good professional and we will see him play in the Premier League I hope in the same way he did at the start of the season."
The Chilean boss urged Jovetic to fight for his place at the Etihad Stadium by impressing during the remainder of the domestic campaign.
"I don't think that one thing has a link with the other thing," he said.
"It is very important for Stevan to try to play now until the end of the season as much games as he can and not be injured and try to have a high performance every time he plays.
"After the end of the season, we analyse not only for Stevan, for all the squad which will continue the next year."
Meanwhile, Pellegrini said he had no concerns over the safety of Bony and Yaya Toure at the African Cup of Nations after spectator violence marred Ghana's semi-final win over hosts Equatorial Guinea on Thursday.
Both Toure and Bony are set to play for Ivory Coast in the final and Pellegrini said: "We have the normal contact that we need to have with both of them.
"I don't think they will have any problems. The most important thing is for them to win that cup.
"It is not easy to take it out of your head if you don't win it.
"I think Ivory Coast deserve to win it because I think they are playing very well and I hope for our two players they will do it."
City, who face Hull on Saturday, are currently five points behind table-toppers Chelsea but their last two title triumphs saw the club come from behind to lift the Premier League trophy.
And after seeing his side draw away to Chelsea last weekend, Pellegrini said: "When you have to play 45 points more, you can close the gap. Of course you can do it.
"But it's important for our team to try to be near the top of the table as soon as you can and the only thing you can do is to improve your performance, to repeat what we did in December and wait until Chelsea and all the teams drop points.
"The last two times this team won the title was coming from behind, so I suppose we can do it for a third time."