Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has defended the out-of-form David Silva after dropping the Spain international for Sunday's trip to Liverpool.
Mancini has admitted the winger is below his best but said that is because he is not fully fit.
Silva recorded 15 assists last season, the most in the Premier League, to help City become champions for the first time in 44 years.
But he was substituted in the 3-2 win over Southampton before coming on as a replacement in the 2-2 draw at Anfield.
Mancini said that Silva is not yet ready to play a full game after returning to training later than his team-mates because of Euro 2012, where he helped Spain retain their crown.
He was then given a cameo in the Community Shield before returning to the starting line-up for the Southampton game.
"We don't have all the players in good form," Mancini said. "The international players started pre-season on July 25. They are not in good form. This is one of the reasons.
"David started his pre-season late and for one week went to Puerto Rico with Spain. He needs training and maybe to play, but not for 90 minutes."