Manuel Pellegrini praised Kevin De Bruyne’s instinctive ability in front of goal after he fired Manchester City into the semi-finals of the Champions League with a 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.
Following last week's thrilling 2-2 draw at the Parc des Princes, the Etihad Stadium hosted a more tense affair, in which Sergio Aguero missed a penalty before De Bruyne made the breakthrough in the 76th minute, smashing past Kevin Trapp from outside the box.
It was the third time the 24-year-old has scored in as many starts since returning from knee ligament damage.
And Pellegrini says De Bruyne used one of his key skills to make the difference against the French champions, insisting he helps lift the rest of the team.
"I think that Kevin has an important thing for a player," Pellegrini said. "We know that near the box he is a very dangerous player because he doesn't need too much place to have good shots.
"I always say that when good players play together, they all play better.
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"Playing David Silva with Sergio Aguero, with Yaya Toure, with Fernandinho - of course, the team improves immediately."
Pellegrini was also delighted with centre-backs Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi after the two much-maligned big-money buys neutralised the threat of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani.
"I was very happy for both of them," Pellegrini said. "I don't think they have had a bad season. Maybe they have made mistakes in some games.
"But I said before the game it is very important to have our best players fit 100 per cent. We played a lot of games during this season with important players injured - we have a squad that merits us being at this stage.
"I'm very happy for both of them because they receive a lot of criticism. If you review the complete performance during the year, I think that they are doing well."
City and Real Madrid will await the results of Wednesday's remaining quarter-finals before learning their fate in Friday's draw.
Should Bayern Munich overcome Benfica, Pellegrini could be pitted against Pep Guardiola - although facing the man who will replace him in the City dugout next season does not appear to hold any added significance for the Chilean.
"For me, it's exactly the same. It doesn't matter who we draw," he continued.
"It will always be a difficult team - Bayern Munich if they win tomorrow or Barcelona or Real Madrid. It will be exactly the same."