Manchester City assistant boss David Platt felt David Silva's double in the champions' comfortable 2-0 win over Fulham was just reward for his recent form.
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The Spain playmaker struck in the second minute at the Etihad Stadium and added a sublime chip 21 minutes from time as City moved within four points of Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United.
Silva could have had a hat-trick but rolled a shot narrowly wide of the far post just moments after scoring his second.
The 27-year-old had scored only one goal this season prior to the match but Platt feels his performances have still been highly effective.
The first-team coach, said: "Last year he had a few more goals under his belt but we know how important he is whether he is scoring goals or not.
"I think his performances have been right up there. I think it would be harsh to say it has been lacking.
"He is in the team for all sorts of different reasons, not just his goalscoring ability.
"I think his performances of late have deserved goals. I am pleased he got the two and he should have had a third."
City finished the game strongly after Silva doubled the lead and could have won more comfortably, but Platt felt the hosts were not at their best.
He said: "We scored after 90 seconds and you think that should settle us.
"But we didn't really get going at full throttle in the first half. In the second half we were better."
City hope the win will put title rivals United under some pressure ahead of their tricky game at Tottenham on Sunday.
Platt said: "We have got 15 (games) left. Both teams will drop points, I am sure.
"We have got to make sure we keep getting victories so if United slip up we are in a position to take advantage of that."
Fulham hit the post through Steve Sidwell but struggled to create meaningful chances throughout.
Despite that they did frustrate City for periods with their patient play and manager Martin Jol felt the Cottagers missed an opportunity to hurt the champions.
He said: "You are fearful - we were very concerned because if you concede a goal after one-and-a-half minutes, you really fear for a bad game, a bad afternoon.
"But it wasn't, we did okay. If you consider they scored the second goal in the 69th minute, we could have hurt them today.
"In the first half they had a shot from (Edin) Dzeko over the bar and a shot from (Carlos) Tevez but that was probably it. I felt we could have done a bit more and scored the equaliser.
"But if you have got Silva - he has extra quality, probably the best player in the Premier League. He was fantastic but overall I felt we did okay."
Left-back John Arne Riise was again left out of the Fulham side but Jol, days after denying he had fallen out with the player, was quick to quash rumours the Norwegian had refused to travel.
Jol, however, did confirm that his absence was related to a poor performance in the 4-0 thrashing by his former club Liverpool before Christmas.
Jol said: "John Arne Riise is a fantastic boy - he will never come up with that sort of c**p, he didn't want to travel.
"If you have got (Matthew) Briggs, who is younger and who can go on the bench - John Arne Riise stayed at Motspur Park to do an extra session.
"I promised him if he was not starting it is probably better if you don't go with us.
"I wasn't happy after the Liverpool game, when (Stewart) Downing scored his first goal since joining Liverpool - John was playing against him, and there was another goal.
"I am trying to do something, maybe to freshen things up or alert John to do more or to do better.
"He is an experienced player, so if he is not playing he is not happy.
"He wants to play but I have got three left-backs now. Keiran (Richardson) probably did the best job of the three."