Birmingham - Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has urged Yaya Toure to build on his performance against Aston Villa after he notched his first goal of the season in their 2-0 victory.
The Ivory Coast midfielder has started the season slowly, but looked like something back to his best as City kept the pressure up on Premier League leaders Chelsea.
City had, however, been frustrated for large periods of the game at Villa Park against a disciplined and organised home defence.
That was until Toure, who scored 24 goals in all competitions for City last season, put City ahead at Villa Park in the 82nd minute with a confident finish before Sergio Aguero made the points safe late on.
"It is very important for him to score his first goal," said Pellegrini.
"Yaya is one of the best midfielders in the Premier League without any doubt. Maybe like any player he can have good games or not so good games but I never have any doubts.
"He is an experienced player. He can be criticised one or two weeks but I know perfectly the way he thinks and the way he can play so I never had a problem about that.
"Yaya knows he must improve every game, and must do it. He is a very important midfielder."
Pellegrini felt his side's performance against Villa was their most complete of the season so far even though it took them until late in the game to find the net.
"I thought we deserved to win," added the Chilean. "And through the whole game we played the best game of this season in terms of possession, chances and the way we defended.
"We were unlucky and had so many chances. I thought the team played very well.
"It's important to get three points, it's only game number seven. The title is usually decided by one or two points. We cannot do anything about Chelsea, but do what we had to against Villa."
The only sour point for City was an injury to midfielder Fernandinho, who was withdrawn in the second half and is set to undergo a scan on a hamstring problem in the next 48 hours.
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert was pleased with the defensive aspect of his side's performance, having kept City at bay for large periods of the game.
"We defended very well," Lambert said. "Manchester City are that good a side they will always have chances.
"For 82 minutes, the lads were excellent and the two lads that scored the goals are top players themselves.
"I thought against City we were well into the game against a team I think will be close to winning the Premier League title.
"There are a lot of plusses and we are still sitting seventh in the table after a few really gruelling games."
Belgium striker Christian Benteke made his first appearance for Villa since he ruptured his Achilles in April, and Lambert was happy with his contribution.
"Christian's had six months out and played half an hour," added the Scot. "It's great for the club, his team-mates and himself to get back playing. There were little glimpses of what he can do."