Saturday 21 April 2018

Mancini eyes rescue talks to keep Tevez

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini answers questions in Turin yesterday. Photo: AP
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini answers questions in Turin yesterday. Photo: AP

Mark Ogden

Roberto Mancini will look Carlos Tevez in the eye and tell Manchester City's transfer-seeking captain that he "must stay" at Eastlands, when he meets the forward for talks in Manchester tomorrow morning.

Mancini, who has yet to discuss the situation with Tevez after undergoing minor surgery in Italy on Tuesday, insists he has been unaware of the player's apparent lingering discontent, claiming that he is not convinced that the former Manchester United striker actually wants to leave City.

Yet despite Tevez being absent from City's flight to Turin for tonight's Europa League encounter with Juventus, the 26-year-old's acrimonious attempt to force his way out of City cast a lengthy shadow over Mancini -- to the extent that questions about the saga were asked to be combined with queries about the game "in order to pay respect to the opposition" as he spoke publicly on the issue for the first time in the press room of Juve's Stadio Olimpico.

City remain insistent that Tevez, who trained with the first team yesterday, will not be allowed to leave just 18 months into a five-year contract, however, and Mancini reinforced the club's stance by warning Tevez that he will relay that message personally tomorrow.

"I will say that he must stay here," Mancini said. "I don't think he is unhappy, really unhappy. I don't think that. He never told me this until four or five days ago, and because of this I think we can change his mind. I don't know if there is another reason.

"I haven't spoken with him because I have been in Italy and he has been in Tenerife, but Carlos has more than three years left on his contract. I think we can change one mind, always, but in this moment, he is an important player who has scored 10 goals this season. He is our player and I hope he continues to play with us and continues to score for us."

Tevez is seeking to leave City next month after citing the breakdown of his relationship with senior figures at the club -- understood to be chief executive Garry Cook and football administrator Brian Marwood -- in a statement on Sunday evening.

The signals from Tevez continue to perplex those who have watched him wander cheerfully into training over the past few weeks.

He told at least one of the ancillary staff at Carrington on Tuesday that he "wasn't leaving", though we can't read anything into that. The Argentine's affection for the blue-collar staff at his club was made manifest last season when a delivery vehicle with "18 TVs for Tevez" bowled up and it transpired that he bought them one each.

If life were as uncomplicated as that relationship, the past week would have passed without event. But while Mancini may not be on Tevez's presents' list this Christmas, he will be hoping for some of the season's cheer when speaking to his captain.

Despite a number of well-publicised clashes between Tevez and Mancini, including a half-time row during the Premier League victory against Newcastle in October, and the player's petulant reaction to being substituted against Birmingham and Bolton recently, Tevez claimed in his statement that he has no personal issues with the City manager.

The Tevez camp and City hierarchy continue to issue contradictory statements on the stand-off between both parties, with Tevez's advisors insisting that his desire to leave is not related to money, while City point to attempts by the player's representatives to secure him a new contract earlier this season.

On the pitch, Tevez's contribution has been central to the club's impressive results this term, however, and Mancini admits he is determined to banish the thought of leaving City from the Argentine's mind.

"I will tell him that we can change the history of the club and, together, we can do good work this year," Mancini said.

"I think that we are in a good moment and we have a good position in the table. Our focus must be on this, but before that, I said I want to speak with him because I repeat, Carlos has three years on his contract and, yes, I want him to stay.

"It's my opinion that Carlos will stay with us. I hope he can continue to be unhappy because he has scored 10 goals already as an unhappy player!"


Mancini admits that he has yet to decide whether Tevez should retain the captain's armband, but City midfielder Patrick Vieira insists that the forward's demeanour around his team-mates has not altered since his transfer request was made public at the weekend.

"We haven't talked about it among the players," Vieira said. "But in the last few days he has been the same Carlos that started the season." With Everton due at Eastlands on Monday evening, Mancini has chosen to rest several members of his first-team squad, including Tevez, for the Juventus game.

Mario Balotelli, Kolo Toure, David Silva, the injured Emmanuel Adebayor and Joe Hart have all been left behind in England, opening the door for the 19-year-old Liberian forward Alex Tchuimeni-Nimely to start against Luigi del Neri's team.

Juventus, second in Serie A, cannot qualify for the knockout stages and City will secure top spot and a seeding for the knockout stages if they match or better Lech Poznan's result against FC Salzburg.

Mancini said: "We want to win the game and win the group because we don't want to play a Champions League team in the next round." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Juventus (4-4-2) -- Manninger; Grygera, Legrottaglie, Chiellini, Traore; Krasic, Melo, Sissoko, Pepe; Giannetti, Del Piero.

Man City (4-2-3-1) -- Given, Richards, Boyata, Boateng, Bridge; Vieira, Zabaleta; Wright-Phillips, Milner, Johnson; Nimely.

Ref -- I Vad (Hungary).

Juventus v Manchester City,

Live, ESPN, 6.0

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