Sunday 3 April 2016 15:06, UK
Manuel Pellegrini says fit-again Kevin de Bruyne is not guaranteed to start in Manchester City's Champions League quarter-final against Paris St Germain.
The Belgian transformed City's attacking threat in Saturday's 4-0 thumping of Bournemouth, in what was his first game since late January after knee and ankle ligament injuries.
The 24-year-old was deployed just off Sergio Aguero but spent much of the Vitality Stadium encounter operating almost as a false nine, creating acres of space for the striker and David Silva.
However, City boss Pellegrini remains adamant De Bruyne must be reassessed before being cleared to face PSG in the quarter-final first leg on Wednesday night.
"We are going to see, because now we can start preparing for that game," said Pellegrini, when asked if De Bruyne will be ready for the match. "There wouldn't be any risk to play him again so soon, because it was not a muscle injury.
"But we've seen the way he played at Bournemouth and now we have to see how he recovers. We'll assess that and then decide.
"Of course it's a boost that he's in contention though, because he's a very important player."
De Bruyne scored City's second goal at Bournemouth, with Fernando and Aguero striking either side before Aleksandar Kolarov rifled a fourth in the second half.
Pellegrini claimed he was not surprised by De Bruyne's rapid impact on his return, praising the ex-Wolfsburg man for forging a deadly combination with Aguero and Silva.
"He's a very technical player, he had worked the last 10 days hard in training, and he worked on football twice in the week and he did very well," said Pellegrini. "I was sure that he was going to return the same way that he finished before his injury.
"He's a very important player; before his injury he was a very good performer. It was unlucky for him to have that injury for about two months, but again he has demonstrated how good a player he is.
"Playing forward near Kun (Aguero) gives him a little space and he doesn't have to work so hard in the midfield."