Tevez proves worth
CARLOS TEVEZ Tevez scored 15 goals in 49 appearances for Manchester United last season and 19 in 48 as Alex Ferguson's team won both the Premier League and Champions League in 2007-08, yet the Argentinian still did not match up to expectations at Old Trafford.
According to Ferguson, Tevez's goal return did not warrant the £25.5m fee being demanded by the player's advisers to turn his two-year loan into a permanent transfer.
Unwanted at Old Trafford, Tevez chose Manchester City as the ideal base from which to prove his point to Ferguson.
And, six months after trading red for blue, 15 goals in 24 appearances suggest that the 25-year-old is enjoying the last laugh on his former manager.
Monday's hat-trick against Blackburn made it 11 goals in Tevez's past eight starts. His publicly-voiced frustration at being little more than a goal-scoring substitute at Old Trafford is now being vindicated with the goals he is delivering at Eastlands.
He is averaging 0.63 goals per game for City, compared to 0.35 goals per game at United.
No Premier League forward is in sharper form and, with Ferguson due to face up to Tevez when United visit their neighbours in next Tuesday's Carling Cup semi-final first-leg, City's Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong claims that his team-mate is silencing his critics.
De Jong said: "It's up to the player to show his worth on the pitch. Every situation is different and some may have a different view on Carlos. But a lot of people will look at him now and see that he is playing well. Maybe they will change their minds.
"The past is in the past and I'm just glad he's playing for us now, though.
"He has 11 goals in eight starts and that is not nothing.
"He is doing great for us. I rate Carlos very highly. He's a really important player for us.
"He scored a hat-trick against Blackburn, but his work-rate in every game is unbelievable. He gets his rewards in goals, but he makes other players better as well.
"You have a lot of great players in the Premier League, but you have to look at the impact he has made in the last few weeks.
"He was also awarded the player of the month award for December for a reason. At this moment, I think he's one of the best, if not the best, striker in the Premier League."
City's ascent to the top four has been fuelled by Tevez's goals. Champions League qualification is the primary objective, but only seven points separate Roberto Mancini's team from leaders Chelsea.
United? They stand just six points above City, who still have a game in hand on the champions.
So while City will continue to target a top-four finish, De Jong admits that they retain a belief that the title is not beyond their grasp.
He said: "Of course we can stay in the top four. The title? Of course it is a possibility. Nothing is impossible, but you have to work for it.
"You have to realistic as well and remember this is only season number one for us after the big spending and we have to take it step by step.
"The important thing for us is the Champions League place and trying to continue in that position. Then we will see in March and April where we are standing."
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Adebayor's return from his traumatic experience with Togo in the African Cup of Nations will take place at a time of the player's choosing.
City are keen for the forward to be given unlimited time and space to come to terms with the ordeal of surviving the machine-gun attack on the Togolese team bus which left three dead last Friday.
And De Jong admits that the City dressing-room must be sensitive to Adebayor's needs when he returns.
"We've tried to text him and call him and he's doing OK. He's not harmed, but there is an emotional scar if you are that close to a near-death experience.
(© Daily Telegraph, London)