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Saturday 16 December 2017

City's U-turn over Tévez proof that players are becoming too powerful: Fergie

Tevez and his family are travelling back to Manchester where he is hoping to re-join his team-mates
Tevez and his family are travelling back to Manchester where he is hoping to re-join his team-mates

Mark Ogden

ALEX Ferguson has sent out a stark warning about the dangers of player power as Carlos Tévez gets ready to resume his career at Manchester City.

Tévez is flying back to Manchester after more than two months in Argentina. Instead of making conciliatory noises, the Argentine instead aimed an astonishing outburst at manager Roberto Mancini, whom he accused of treating him "like a dog."

Mancini repeatedly claimed that Tévez would never play for the club again, but it now seems Manchester City are willing to include the striker in their plans for the rest of the season.

And Ferguson, who signed Argentine striker Tévez from West Ham in 2008, says football's reputation suffers when players are so powerful.

"When I first started out in management 37 years ago there were no agents," said Ferguson. "There was no freedom of contract either, so players were totally tied to their clubs.

"A change in that sense was inevitable, though I think that now the scales tipped completely in the other direction and I’m not sure it’s good for the game."

As players have become more powerful, so the influence of managers has decreased with Ferguson's 25-year reign at Old Trafford unlikely to ever be repeated elsewhere.

"This is a results industry and if a manager loses four or five games in a row then his job is under threat," said Ferguson.

"But at United that scenario simply isn’t possible. I’m in charge of all footballing matters, including our scouting network and youth teams.

"In that sense I’m very fortunate, because I can make quick decisions on who to bring in next to strengthen the squad and where to get them from."

Tévez has not played for City since September, when Mancini accused him of refusing to come on against Bayern Munich in September.

Referring to the night in the Allianz Arena last September, when he refused to continue warming up as a substitute against Bayern Munich, Tévez said: “I was kind of in a bad mood and when he [Mancini] brings on [Nigel] de Jong and takes off [Edin] Dzeko – and we’re losing 2-0 – I thought it was a defensive substitution, so I decided to sit back on the bench.

“I had already warmed up for 10 minutes and he has this attitude that he wants to lose 2-0 instead of 4-0.

“So I sat down and at the same time Dzeko comes off. He is really angry and has a go at Mancini. He then sees the tunnel is closed, so he has to sit down next to him and they start to have an argument.

“I go and sit down and he [Mancini] doesn’t see me because he’s having this discussion. But then he turns around and sees me and you can imagine what happens.

“He’s in the middle of an argument, so then he tells me to keep on warming up and treats me like a dog. When he spoke to me in that tone of voice, I said 'No, I’m not going out’.

“I was willing to play, but the coach was in such a foul mood because he had that argument with Dzeko. Mancini said some horrible things to me.”

Tévez, whose losses at City since last summer amount to £9.3m due to fines and the forfeit of wages and loyalty bonuses, was speaking publicly for the first time since returning to Argentina.

The comments prompted City to contact Tévez’s representatives last night to question the sentiments expressed by the player, but it was stressed by his camp that the extracts broadcast on Sky Sports News were cherry-picked from a more wide-ranging broadcast.

There appeared little appetite for reconciliation on Tévez’s part, however, when he was asked if he was prepared to grant Mancini the apology demanded by the Italian.

“If I was wrong, I say sorry,” Tévez said. “But I sincerely believe I did not make a mistake.

“If it’s true [Mancini would welcome me back], of course I like that. But if it’s for the media, no.

“I’ll do my best to be available and play, but Mancini’s position got stronger when Kun Agüero arrived [last July].

“I don’t know if he [Mancini] would have done the things he did if this was last season. Last season we almost exchanged punches, but he never said anything. If we had a problem, we could have sorted it out in a different way.

“Last season, after a home game against Newcastle, we almost hit each other in the dressing room. But we spoke the following day. Mancini is a winner and I’m a winner too. None of us likes to lose.

“That Bayern episode could have been avoided. They could have kicked me out of the club without saying all the things they said.”

In a further dig at Mancini, however, Tévez claimed that Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United was one of the two best managers he had worked with.

“I know Ferguson really doesn’t want to lose this title race,” Tévez said. “Ferguson didn’t have the best relationship with me, but together with [former Argentina manager] Marcelo Bielsa those two are the best managers I had.”

With Tévez having not played since last September, City are set to put the player on an individual training regime when he returns, before incorporating him back into the first-team squad.

Tévez has trained recently with a personal trainer in Argentina, however, and he insists he is determined to play a part in City’s title challenge.

He said: “I want to go back to Manchester and win the City fans back.

“People turned their back on me but it’s normal. I didn’t understand City fans burning my shirt. It hurt, but it’s normal they react like that because they read all sorts of things.

“I’m prepared to go back and put on the City shirt, though. I’m going to train, to give my all and be available.

“I can imagine myself going on to the field and I’m going to have to be brilliant [to win over the critics]. It’s not going to be easy for me, nor the fans. I feel like I’m out the squad. I wish I can go back there and help them win.”

Despite insisting he is ready to boost City’s title challenge, Tévez admits that his love of English football is tainted by two things – working at Christmas and having to train twice a day.

“I love the English league,” he said. “I think it’s the best in the world, but I have a problem with Christmas and New Year’s Day because you have to play. Going to train on December 24th and on the 25th – it’s tough. I didn’t like that. And there’s no need for City to make me do two training sessions a day. I’ll do it myself.

“In Argentina, I trained in the mornings and I played a lot of golf. In England it’s the middle of winter now so I won’t be able to play much.

“I said I was going to retire at 28, though, and was thinking about it, but not anymore. I want to succeed again.”

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