Manchester City playmaker David Silva attributed his sizzling form on the pitch to feeling happy off it on Monday after his manager hailed him as one of the world's best players.
The 25-year-old Spaniard packs a lot of talent into his slim 5ft 7in frame, with an eye for a cross, back-heel dummy or a shot at goal and has been the consistent driving force behind City's electrifying attacks in the Premier League.
Silva has settled into pulling the strings of a more attack-minded City, who climbed to the top of the table this weekend with a 4-1 win over Aston Villa.
"I think because I'm happy off the field I'm showing good form also on the field now," Silva, in his second season at the club, told a news conference on Monday.
"That's thanks to the man sitting next to me and his backroom staff and the rest of my team-mates."
The man next to him was manager Roberto Mancini, who gave his charge an affectionate pat before describing how he had first caught his eye several years ago while playing for Valencia against Mancini's then club Inter Milan in the Champions League.
"Silva is one of the best players in Europe or in the world," the Italian said.
"He can play for Real Madrid, for Barcelona, he is an incredible player. He has improved a lot in the last two years - like a guy [and] like a player.
"I saw Silva for the first time seven years ago... he was incredible."
Mancini will be hoping Silva can translate his domestic form into success in Europe's elite club competition with City needing a win to kick-start a Group A campaign where they have collected only one point from two games.
Silva's time spent at Valencia from his youth days until 2010 give him an in-depth knowledge of City's La Liga opponents Villarreal and the Spain international is hoping to make that count.
"They are a great side. I know they like to keep hold of the ball, they like to pass the ball around, they also can hit you on the break," he said.
"So we need to be careful that we retain as much possession as we can and just avoid being hit on the counter when they do break.
"It's a very, very important match for us tomorrow. We need to get those three points. If we don't get those three points there will be some distance between us and the teams at the top so it will be tough after that."
City are third in the group behind Bayern Munich, who have a perfect six points, while Napoli are second with four. Villarreal are bottom with no points.comments