Yaya Toure has claimed he never had any doubts that he would be called upon again by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola after making a stunning return to the side.
The former Ivory Coast midfielder netted twice in City's 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday on what was his first Premier League appearance of the season and only his second outing in all competitions in 2016-17.
Toure has been frozen out under Guardiola ever since the City manager became angered by critical comments from the 33-year-old's agent, making his two-goal salvo on his return to the starting XI particularly sweet.
"I was delighted to play, it was difficult for me," he told BBC Sport. "I am very happy to be playing football, my team-mates are very important to me."
"They have always been brilliant with me, always supportive. I always want to be there to help them.
"I am professional, I always want to improve my game. I was prepared mentally and I knew that one day my manager would need me. You must always stay professional.
"I have been lucky. Today was very tough. We know what we have to do to win this league, sometimes you have to fight."