|Silva lining for Manchester City
David Silva and Jo performed an unlikely double act as Manchester City got their Europa League campaign off to a flying start with a 2-0 win against Salzburg.
Silva has endured a stop-start first few weeks since his arrival from Valencia and has even been linked with a swift move back to Spain.
But the World Cup star provided City with their early lead before Jo, who staggeringly was the longest-serving outfield player in the City starting line-up despite spending the past 18 months away on loan, drilled home the second from an acute angle.
It was a fully merited triumph for a team that at times showed the form that brought them that encouraging early-season triumph over Liverpool, and gave Roberto Mancini an indication that after recent Premier League setbacks against Sunderland and Blackburn, his highly expensive team are moving in the right direction again.
When Silva's £24million capture was announced right in the middle of the World Cup, it created a ripple of excitement to match any at City throughout another breathless summer.
Although not in the class of his Barcelona-bound former Valencia colleague David Villa, Silva had been attracting admiring glances across Europe for quite a while.
That City should be able to attract such a player, at a time when the general trend has been for big names to decamp to La Liga, emphasised both their financial muscle and the new eyes with which the Eastlands outfit are now being viewed.
As it turned out, Silva still had 11 days of what, for him, was a largely inactive World Cup to go, the consequent celebrations and late return for pre-season training playing havoc with the settling-in process.
That the two recent international breaks have taken Spain to Mexico and Argentina have hardly helped either, so suddenly, Silva was a man with something to prove.
Deep down, he must have retained plenty of confidence though.
The assured manner with which he took the seventh-minute opportunity presented to him by Jo did not appear that of a man wracked by self-doubt.
By half-time, Silva would be reflecting he should have had a second too.
Gareth Barry's fine pass to Carlos Tevez created that opportunity, the South American's square ball inviting Silva to shoot, only for Gerhard Tremmel to make a fine save after the 24-year-old had checked back onto his left foot.
That Wayne Bridge and Jo played a part in City's opener would have given both men cause for satisfaction.
Bridge's first appearance of the season has been delayed because of an ankle operation and could not have been better timed considering Joleon Lescott is expected to be out for a fortnight with a groin strain.
For Jo it was a reminder that he still exists.
It was the Brazilian's first start since December 2008, six months after his arrival from CSKA Moscow in a £17million deal which seemed certain to be consigned to the ill-fated variety.
Expected to move on this summer after loan spells with Everton and Galatasaray, the 23-year-old stuck around and was rewarded with a place in both Mancini's Premier League and European squads.
Then, as injuries claimed Emmanuel Adebayor and Mario Balotelli, Jo was suddenly shunted to the forefront of Mancini's plans.
It must be said, he did not look particularly threatening, even though he stuck stretch out a leg to tee up Silva from Bridge's low cross.
But the City boss stuck with him and when Tevez's shot was parried by Gerhard Tremmel, Jo kept his composure to tuck home from an acute angle.
The goal came at a time when a watchable game had hit a flat spot, Salzburg hitting a brick wall in their attempts to come any closer than the free-kick Nikola Pokrivac flashed wide right after the break.
Mancini took it as the sign to start making changes, with Dedryck Boyata, Patrick Vieira and Shaun Wright-Phillips all given a run out.
After the recent setbacks against Sunderland and Blackburn it was just what Mancini would have wanted and leaves City fans in optimistic mood ahead of their second European adventure, the visit of Italian giants Juventus to Eastlands in a fortnight.
# Kompany hails Silva service
Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany hailed the quality of David Silva after Manchester City's win over Red Bull Salzburg.
And Kompany told ESPN afterwards: ''He is an amazing player - and like every foreign player he needs time to settle in the Premier League. We've seen in training he's an amazing player - he'll be very important for us at times this season.''
The Belgium international continued: ''I think it was a good performance but we should have scored two or three goals in the first half. That would have made it an easier game for us - because it wasn't easy.
''Early goals settle nerves. In previous weeks we have performed well but not scored from the chances we have had. The first chance went in tonight but the second, third and fourth ones didn't - but we are demanding of ourselves and are going to move forward.
''We definitely look like a unit already but some stuff is down to luck. I think in three or four months we will be even stronger than we are now.''
Juventus, City's opponents at Eastlands in their next match, drew 3-3 with Group A's other team - Lech Poznan - today.
And Kompany added: ''It's a great result, knowing we have a home game next time...it could be very important for us. You want to get points early on so you can focus on the Premier League.''
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini insists David Silva has what it takes to be a Premier League star.
"David is a fantastic player, and for him it is a different situation now,'' said Mancini. "He is playing a different kind of football. But after one month, he is ready to go 100% for the team.
"He will be an important player for the future. He is a strong player who played for Valencia in the Champions League for many years.''
Mancini denied Silva was too small to make an impact in England, even though his diminutive frame does appear more suited to the European style: "He knows how to play football. Arsenal have two or three players like David and they play very well.
"David can play in every position. For Valencia he played either right or left wing but I think this position (behind the striker) is the best for him.''
Mancini also had words of praise for Brazilian forward Jo, who on his first City start since December 2008 scored only his fourth goal for the club to seal a victory which leaves the Blues top of Group A ahead of the visit from Italian giants Juventus in two weeks.
"For strikers it is important to score goals,'' said Mancini. "Jo has scored an important goal and I hope he continues to play like he did tonight. We are talking about two important players. For me my players are the best players in the world.''
Salzburg coach Huub Stevens refused to discuss City's performance, or their status as tournament favourites. However, he did admit his side underperformed: "We did not start very well, and if you are not on top of your game in the first 10 minutes against a team such as Manchester City, it is always going to be a struggle,'' said Stevens.
"We gave City too much space, and they had too much room to get at our defence.''