Belfast Telegraph

Mancini hopeful over Tevez fitness

Roberto Mancini is confident Carlos Tevez still has a major role to play in Manchester City's battle for a place in next season's Champions League.

Tevez limped out of Monday night's 3-0 hammering at Liverpool with a hamstring injury and, although Mancini admits it is highly unlikely Tevez will play in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final with Manchester United, he does not feel the damage is so bad it will rule Tevez out of the final six games of their Premier League programme.

"It will be very difficult for Saturday but he should be okay to return in two weeks," said Mancini.

City fans will cross their fingers that Mancini's assessment proves to be accurate.

Although Tevez has scored just twice in his last 12 games, he is by some distance City's top scorer this season.

Edin Dzeko is still to bag a Premier League goal despite making nine appearances since his £27million arrival from Wolfsburg, whilst the enigmatic Mario Balotelli - who has not scored in seven games - was so bad against Liverpool that Mancini took him off, even though he had only been introduced as Tevez's replacement.

With Yaya Toure failing to make any impact until his late piledriver forced Pepe Reina into his only meaningful save and David Silva's form dipping sharply over the past few weeks of an otherwise outstanding debut season at Eastlands, City fans optimism has been punctured ahead of that eagerly-awaited FA Cup semi-final.

Yet Mancini, who accepted all the blame for the awful display at Anfield without saying exactly what went wrong, insists it will be all right on the night.

"If we won this game we probably would have had a 100% chance to go to the Champions League," said Mancini. "Now we should fight until the end because Tottenham are very close.

"Now some people might be worried because we have an important game. But we have more chances and I think we will get into the Champions League and we will go into the final."


From Belfast Telegraph