West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic says fit-again attacker Andre Ayew needs time to regain top form.
Having been in the treatment room since August, the Ghanaian started his first league game in three months in Saturday's 1-1 home stalemate with Stoke City in the Premier League.
The 26-year-old was deployed as a lone striker, and played 63 minutes at the Olympic Stadium.
“He [Ayew] is only just come back from a long injury," Bilic told his club's official website.
"He’s a great player and like any player, he needs time to hit his form again.
“It was hard for Ayew, because we were not coming into the situations [high up the pitch] in the first half, so he was dropping into midfield.
“He was one of our top signings, if not our top signing, and it’s his position, whether he plays there by himself, in a pair or around the striker.
"He can cover all those positions.”
Ayew joined West Ham from Swansea City on a three-year deal in August, after hitting 12 goals in 34 league games for the latter last season.
He has also played for French clubs Marseille, Arles-Avignon and Lorient.
Even with question marks over his sharpness, Ayew has been summoned for international duty, and is expected to captain Ghana in their 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier against Egypt on Sunday in the absence of the injured Asamoah Gyan.