Tevez told to fight for his spot
Published 01/08/2011 | 05:00
Roberto Mancini has warned Carlos Tevez he will not be guaranteed a starting place if he is forced to remain at the Etihad Stadium for the rest of the season after watching Mario Balotelli produce a display against Inter Milan which prompted the Manchester City manager to claim his countryman can become one of the best players in the world.
Just a week after his elaborate and unnecessary back-heel left Mancini with no choice but to haul the 20-year-old off after just 32 minutes against Los Angeles Galaxy -- complete with stinging rebuke as he trudged from the field -- the City manager issued fulsome praise for the £23m striker, albeit with an undercurrent of warning.
"What I do know is that if he plays like today, he can be one of the best players," said Mancini, after watching Balotelli score the first in an impressive defeat of the Italian giants.
"I think if he plays with the same concentration as he did today, then we will be happy. It is important that he concentrates.
"We had a conversation in Italian when he came off. I was just telling him that sometimes he needs to be more selfish. He had a chance to score, but he passed the ball instead. I told him he could have shot. But it was not a problem.
"I talk to him every day. I hope he has learned from what happened last week. I think he has to. I hope he will understand, but we will see in the future."
Mancini was equally delighted by the performance of Balotelli's strike partner, Edin Dzeko, scorer of City's second goal immediately after the break. It was a strike created by a pass of impeccable vision from David Silva, rightly awarded the man of the match award, and a man upon whom many of City's hopes this season rest.
The Spaniard impressed in his first campaign in England last season but his manager clearly feels it is this year that will see him produce his best, particularly with an abundance of high-calibre strikers feeding off his ammunition.
"David Silva is a fantastic player," he said. "He is incredible. He is a great player and passes like the one for Dzeko's goal are simple for him. It is easy. He has such good technique."
Indeed, with the club's record signing, Sergio Aguero, sitting in the stands, it is not hard to see why the Italian should be moved to suggest that when Tevez returns to Carrington on August 4 he will do so as one of four players competing for just two slots in front of Silva.
"When Carlos comes back to training on Thursday we will have four strikers fighting for the shirts," he said. "That's good for us. When you are playing in four competitions, we need that competition, we need those players. Players fighting for the shirt is a good thing."
Two strikers who will not remain at the Etihad Stadium to provide more competition, it seems, are Craig Bellamy and Emmanuel Adebayor, with Mancini insisting after his side won the Dublin Super Cup yesterday that both will be allowed to leave if suitable offers arrive.
"It is possible that there have been conversations about Craig Bellamy between us and Celtic," he revealed. "I met Craig two days ago at Carrington. I spoke with him for 10 minutes. It was a friendly conversation.
"Everything was normal. He told me something I want to keep to myself.
"What I said two days ago was that if Celtic want Craig, he is a good player and I think he can go. He is a good striker and needs to be playing. Celtic are a good team. I would let him go on loan, because Craig deserves to play and he deserves to play for a good team.
"It is the same with Adebayor. He wants to go to Real Madrid and if they want to take him, they can. We can't carry six strikers. He needs to play and I would be happy for him to go back to Real Madrid." (© Daily Telegraph, London)