Liverpool - Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes France defender Eliaquim Mangala can recover from a torrid start to his career with the English Premiership champions.
City paid a reported initial fee of £32 million to sign Mangala from Porto last year in a bid to add defensive cover for injury-prone captain Vincent Kompany.
But Mangala, capped five times by France, has struggled to justify his hefty price tag and endured a tough afternoon in the 1-1 draw against Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday, with Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku frequently getting the better of him.
Pellegrini refused to publicly analyse the defender's performance but hopes he will follow a similar path to Argentinian central defender Martin Demichelis, who also appeared a poor signing early in his City career only to come good as his new club won the English title.
"I always analyse individual performances with the players," said Pellegrini of Mangala's troubles.
"I hope there is a repeat of what Demichelis did last year. He improved and was a very important player."
City dominated the first half at Everton but failed to score and, after Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho headed them into a 74th minute lead, City could only hold it for four minutes before Steven Naismith earned the home side a deserved point.