Eriksson thrilled with form of wing man Petrov
Manchester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson is convinced he has unearthed a gem in £4.7million winger Martin Petrov.
The Bulgaria international had long been touted for a move to Tottenham before Eriksson swooped to sign the 28-year-old from Atletico Madrid this summer.
Petrov's direct style has proved an instant hit at Eastlands and he weighed in with two goals last weekend as City fought out a thrilling draw at Fulham, and he will now be eyeing up tomorrow's encounter with Newcastle as another opportunity to get his name on the scoresheet.
Indeed, Petrov has probably adapted to the English game quicker than any of Eriksson's eight new arrivals, although the Swede never doubted he would be a success.
'I have always known Martin was a great player,'' he said. 'What he did in Spain and for his national team was fantastic.
'He has pace and a good left foot. He can shoot and cross. He is one of those electric players - something always happens when he gets the ball and the fans are excited by that.
'Scoring two goals away from home in the Premier League is an achievement in itself. But that is his standard and now he is getting fitter, he will get better still.''
Eriksson puts Brazilian playmaker Elano in the same bracket and both players should benefit from a week on the Carrington training ground having been excused Carling Cup duty in midweek.
Georgios Samaras took his opportunity though, netting the all-important winner against Norwich. However, even with Rolando Bianchi ruled out after aggravating a groin problem, the Greece striker will probably have to be content with a place on the bench at best as Emile Mpenza returns.
But, even if Samaras has not yet done enough to earn a Premier League start, Eriksson is convinced he has seen off the boo-boys among City's support.
'If he plays like he did on Tuesday and continues to score important goals, I am quite sure Georgios will not get booed again,'' he said. 'Maybe he was close to leaving in the summer but he has a contract here and will be treated as an equal to everyone else.
'Georgios has not played for a long time, so if he has given me a selection dilemma that is good, although I already know who will be playing tomorrow.'