Mancini: ‘Tevez is out, if I have my way’
Bayern Munich 2
Man City 0
WHEN he arrived from their bitter rivals, Carlos Tevez was greeted with 'Welcome to Manchester' banners, but this morning most of Manchester City's supporters will be hoping that he is on the first plane out of the city after he refused to come on as a substitute last night.
City had been undefeated and joint-top of the Premier League, but, as had been feared in a club so full of egos, when the wheels came off, they did so in spectacular fashion with Roberto Mancini pledging that Tevez was "finished with him" after his antics in their 2-0 defeat at the Allianz Arena.
City were undone on the pitch by two first-half goals which left goalkeeper Joe Hart furious that his team hadn't done enough to prevent matters going from bad to worse. It was to prove the theme of the night.
In the second half, with City chasing a goal to gain a foothold in the game, manager Mancini decided to replace Edin Dzeko with Nigel de Jong but, despite Dzeko's furious reaction to the decision, it was the reaction of fellow striker Tevez moments later that brought the night to its lowest point.
"He just refused to go on. I don't know why," said Mancini afterwards. "I cannot be happy with this situation. Would something like this happen at Bayern Munich, AC Milan or Manchester United?
"I am the manager. I decide everything. I have helped him every time for two years, he has wanted to leave but I still picked him.
"The thing is there were still 30 minutes until the end of the game. We could still change it. Carlos didn't play at the start of the season because he has not had a pre-season for three years. He was not ready to play.
"If it was another player, maybe this could happen, but for a player to refuse to go on in an important game like this is not right.
"If I have my way, he will be out of the club," added Mancini. "He's finished with me, with me he's finished."
Speaking with the aid of a translator, Tevez responded to Mancini's anger.
"That's a decision for him to make (regarding whether Tevez plays for City again). I've been a professional during all my time here. Last season I was the best scorer. I have said I wanted to leave for family reasons, but I keep trying to do my best."
However, there was also the problem of striker Dzeko shaking his head at Mancini as he was replaced by de Jong 10 minutes into the second half and then taking off and slamming his boots into the ground moments later.
"He was disappointed, but he played a bad game," said Mancini in relation to Dzeko. "I wanted to keep the score down and not concede a third goal. It is the last time any player at this club does that."
Former City player and current Munich central defender Jerome Boateng had claimed prior to the game that City lacked the "togetherness" needed to win the Champions League and, on a dreadful night, his premonition proved to be accurate.
The evidence of last night's comprehensive defeat does not exactly suggest that the club are "money-wasters" as Napoli's president suggested after their encounter with the club a few weeks ago, but it certainly reveals the considerable difference between a rich source of talent and rich vein of spirit. Money does not buy the latter, as City's players have a discomforting habit of demonstrating, time and again.
But equally damaging to Mancini was his players' failure to rouse themselves to the slightest degree when the cards collapsed. David Silva has been one of the most energising players of the domestic campaign and Sergio Aguero looks capable of being one of the world's prime forces. But dismembering Wigan and playing eye-to-eye with Bayern are very different propositions.
Roberto Mancini needed the reassurance of tried and tested Champions League players. It was why Kolo Toure started his first seriously competitive game since failing a drugs test after February's Old Trafford Manchester derby, and why -- when it came down to it -- Samir Nasri was preferred to James Milner.
City's players started with an ebullience and character far removed from last season's diffidence.
The aura of Bayern's nine-game winning run looked nothing as City attacked and were deprived what looked like two reasonable first-half penalty appeals. The game was barely two minutes old when Nasri seemed to have his legs taken by Boateng as he raced to the touchline to take a threaded ball from David Silva.
Boateng's heavy challenge on Micah Richards in the area about 20 minutes later also had Mancini on his feet in indignation.
But just as they seemed ready to make a statement to the continent, Mancini's side were undone by their own ambition, which left them seriously stretched. When it came, the opening goal had an inevitability about it. Ribery advanced on Hart again, who saved brilliantly, then pushed away Thomas Muller's effort on the rebound, but Mario Gomez was on hand to finish things up.
City had barely regrouped when Hart's acrobatics fell desperately short of saving the side from the predatory instincts of Gomez once again. Toni Kroos bent in a free-kick from the left, which Daniel van Buyten flicked goalwards and, though Hart pushed it away, Gomez reacted first. Hart got something on his shot, but could not keep it out.
After producing fine saves immediately before both goals, Hart's fury was understandable. Whatever emotions Tevez was feeling later on in the night, however, are far more difficult for anybody to justify.