Tevez grateful for second chance
Manchester City's Carlos Tevez has thanked Roberto Mancini for keeping faith with him and warned Manchester United the title race is not over.
Tevez went AWOL for three months after a spat with Mancini, but the pair have now made up and Tevez is back in the fold for the Lancashire club as they seek to overhaul their bitter local rivals and clinch their first title since 1968.
Tevez started his second straight Premier League game for the first time in 11 months and he rewarded his manager with a fine display of deadly finishing as he hit a hat-trick in Saturday's 6-1 annihilation of Norwich.
The striker smacked home a 20-yard swirling shot in the first half before adding a header and a cool finish after seizing on a mix-up in the Norwich defence to cut United's lead to two points ahead of their match against Aston Villa on Sunday.
Mancini, perhaps taking a leaf out of United manager Sir Alex Ferguson's textbook on mind games, claimed again on Saturday that the title race is "finished", but Tevez thinks otherwise.
"Of course we can still win the title," Tevez told City TV. "Obviously we have to put pressure on United. We just need to continue to play the way we are and we will arrive at the top. Mathematically it's not impossible."
Tevez's dispute with Mancini stretches back to September when the Italian claimed his former captain refused to come off the bench in the club's Champions League game at Bayern Munich.
After five months of disciplinary hearings, public verbal sparring with Mancini and huge fines, Tevez returned in February after issuing an apology.
The 28-year-old made four substitute appearances and has looked very sharp since being restored to the starting XI on Wednesday, when he helped the Blues to a 4-0 win over West Brom.
"I am very happy that I played very well today but the most important thing is that I want to say thank you to my colleagues for all the support they have given me since I arrived," he said.
"It wasn't easy coming back to training and to play but they have given me a lot of support and the technical staff have been very good to me too. I really appreciate everyone's help."
Tevez followed his third strike by mimicking a golf swing in front of the raucous City following, who seem to have forgiven him for his misdemeanours.
Some saw that as a dig at Mancini after the Italian's comments about Tevez being busy playing golf in Argentina during his battle with the club, but the striker says that was not the case.
"It was an important goal, not just for me but it was important for the people, for the club and for the fans, for my colleagues, for Roberto," he added.
"We all went through some difficult times. That's why I celebrated the way I did because I have my feet on the floor and I am happy for everyone."
Tevez looked to have piled on the pounds during his time away from football but he is now a much leaner figure and was lively throughout Saturday's win, which was sealed by an injury-time strike from Adam Johnson.
Despite the successful return of City's former bad boy, it was Aguero who arguably deserved to be crowned man of the match for the way he lashed home a 20-yard volley following Tevez's backheel and curled home from a similar distance to make it 4-1.
Tevez was happy with the way he linked up with his compatriot, adding: "We seem to understand each other and yes we did play very well together."
The emphatic defeat was harsh on Norwich, who looked destined to equalise after Andrew Surman made it 2-1 just after half-time.
Canaries boss Paul Lambert, who led his team to victory at Tottenham last week, could only sit back and admire the way his opponents played, but claimed the scoreline flattered City.
"They are a very good side, but a 6-1 defeat? I'm not so sure about the scoreline," he said.
"I can't sit here and criticise my team. In football you always get another chance and that is what will happen again next week. We will have another go at it then."