Mark Hughes watched Carlos Tevez plunder two decisive goals against former club West Ham then identified the Argentina striker as a player who will be worth his weight in gold this season.
Man of the match Tevez was the key to a 3-1 win that kept City breathing down the necks of the early leading pack but manager Hughes expects his true worth to glitter in tighter games.
The Blues boss sees his controversial summer signing as the player who can unlock those matches that will have a significant influence on how far city's bold challenge will go.
He said: "Carlos was great - his movement and inter-change with Craig Bellamy, Martin Petrov and the midfield guys. And as the season progresses, that will get better.
"Carlos is an outstanding footballer. He has an awareness, an understanding of where others are and the way in which he can affect the game. With players of that ilk you have a heady mix.
"You need players who have that ability to create the unexpected and make things out of nothing. Because we will have games where we don't play as well as we want. Then we will need somebody to create somebody out of nothing."
Tevez, who saved West Ham from relegation, almost apologised to travelling fans for scoring - his gesture of supplication did not surprise Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola, who said: "He's a gentleman as well as a great player. He and Bellamy were terrific tonight."
Hughes, meanwhile, had the added bonus of seeing striker Roque Santa Cruz and long-term casualty Michael Johnson come off the bench to huge applause from a near-43,000 crowd.
With City a game behind the leaders, he said: "We are playing catch-up somewhat. But we knew what we had to do after the weekend results.
"It's early days and we have hit the ground running. We are playing well and with confidence. We're in good shape and I'm convinced we will get better. But we are running quite quickly. Maybe a little further down the line we will have to slow down."