Carlos Tevez tries to show Manchester City he can be title contender
Comeback kid Carlos Tévez braces himself for apology to City manager Mancini
The Argentine striker met with club doctors and underwent a series of exercises to establish what shape he is in during a 75-minute stay at Manchester City’s Carrington training ground.
The most decisive meeting could take place at the same complex this morning, when Tévez may come face to face with manager Roberto Mancini for the first time since he went absent without leave last November. That will depend on Mancini’s schedule as he prepares to fly to Porto for a Europa League tie, so their appointment may yet be delayed until later this week.
Clearly out of condition, Tévez must not only convince the Italian he can physically contribute to the remainder of City’s title challenge, but that he can repair the psychological damage of their strained relationship.
To play for City again, Tévez must apologise directly to his manager for the series of controversies which have wrecked his season and led to numerous disciplinary measures. There was every indication last night he is prepared do whatever it takes in order to play a part in the run-in.
Kia Joorabchian, Tévez’s adviser, said he would say sorry. “From a football point of view Carlos can only be an asset,” Joorabchian said. “Clearly he has a lot of repairs to do with the fans. He is ready to apologise.”
Mancini has never hidden his feelings of resentment towards the ex-captain’s challenges to his authority. He said Tévez was “finished” at City earlier in the season. But Mancini is a pragmatist who will find a use for the player if the circumstances permit.
City officials were last night stressing Tévez’s return is not a consequence of an ‘olive branch’ or because the manager needs more striking options. They say the player is meeting the contractual obligations he’s been reminded of every week for the past three months. They will be glad to have him back if he is able to play, but there is still a long way to go before that happens.
The 28 year-old has at least been buoyed by the reception he has received from team-mates, who appear anxious for him to rebuild his reputation at the club.
Joleon Lescott wrote on his Twitter account: “All I can say is that all the players are excited to have Carlos, Kolo and Yaya back to help achieve our goal. Who wouldn’t want to have these players in their squad.”
It is understood a large proportion of City players have made it known there will be no tension in the dressing room should Tévez be included in future squads.
That will come as a relief to the South American, who knows the City fans have turned against him, and he was initially unsure of the kind of reception he would get from the squad. He did not meet any of his team-mates or coaching staff yesterday as they had already completed their practice session.
Instead, Tévez’s time was limited to a series of exercises to establish what condition he is in. Mancini will analyse the results of those tests before determining if, or when, Tévez might become available.
Tévez claimed earlier this week on Argentine TV he would be fit enough to play in two weeks, but the club will reach their own conclusion based on yesterday’s examinations.
He has not played for the club since September, having been ostracised since being accused of refusing to warm up in the Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich on Sept 27.
After being suspended and fined, he flew home to Argentina without permission in November. A further six-week fine took his total costs beyond the £1.2 million mark.
Tévez’s hopes of leaving City were frustrated when the club was unable to agree a deal in January with AC Milan, Inter Milan and Paris St Germain.
His appetite for the game has reawakened, and although bridges need to be built, redemption may yet be found if he helps City beat Manchester United to the title.