Mancini waiting for Tevez to return

Mancini still waits on Tevez

ROBERTO MANCINI, the Manchester City manager, has expressed his growing frustration about Carlos Tevez’s self-imposed absence from the team, abandoning the sympathy that he had previously shown towards the club’s leading scorer to suggest that he is running out of patience.

Mancini was speaking after City and Liverpool played out a dull, 0-0 draw that does little for either club’s ambitions to qualify for next season’s Champions League. The result sees City drop to fifth and Liverpool sixth as Spurs later overtook them to go into fourth spot with a 3-0 victory at Wigan.

Tevez has missed City’s last three games after flying to Buenos Aires following the premature birth of his second daughter, Katie. Mancini has not been able to speak to the striker since Wednesday, but his information is the baby is no longer in critical condition, and her mother, Vanesa, has been allowed to leave hospital.

Mancini’s understanding was that this would lead to Tevez returning to Manchester.

But, after the draw against Liverpool, he admitted he had still not been informed about when to expect him back. Tevez’s representatives said that there are no plans for him to fly back because the baby is still in intensive care.

City are planning for their FA Cup fifth-round replay at Stoke City on Wednesday without the man who has scored 19 goals since defecting from Manchester United last summer, and there was a hardening of Mancini’s tone.

“He is in Argentina and it’s a big problem because we have an important week,” the manager said. “We don’t have any depth and, for me, it is not good. Carlos went eight days ago and I don’t even know (if he will be back for the game at Chelsea next Saturday). I don’t know if, while he is in Argentina, he has been working (on his fitness). I hope that Carlos comes back within two days. I have ordered him to come back and I hope in the next few days he can come back.”

By questioning his player’s motives Mancini has left himself open to allegations of insensitivity, but the manager clearly believes Tevez should have given him a firm idea of when he planned to fly back.

The issue has not been helped by several missed telephone calls between Tevez’s adviser, Kia Joorabchian, and the club’s football administrator, Brian Marwood, but Mancini made little effort to disguise his frustration. It was Friday when Mancini first learned the baby was out of danger.

“He had some problems with his family and now it is resolved,” he said. “I need him back. I have a big problem at the moment. I have only Ade (Adebayor) in attack, Bellamy worked with the team only in the last few days and Roque is not good because he has a problem with his knee.”

The lack of options in attack was a contributing factor to a hugely disappointing match in which there was only one shot on target from each side.

Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool manager, later acknowledged it had been a “difficult game” but he was encouraged by the return of Yossi Benayoun and Fernando Torres from five-week injury lay-offs.

“I have more confidence now,” he said, when asked about the prospect of finishing the season fourth. “We didn’t have clear chances and they didn’t, but I felt we had more possession. Both players have been important for us in the past and hopefully will be important in the future.”

Liverpool could have had a late penalty when Vincent Kompany clipped Benayoun’s ankle but the midfielder tried to keep his balance to put in a cross. “Sometimes it’s good when the player does that, but sometimes it’s bad,” his manager said. “He (Benayoun) was trying to continue and you mustn’t blame the player.

“Torres trained on Friday and he was really good. Early in the morning we thought ‘no chance’, but watching him in the session he was trying and going to the floor, so we thought ‘okay, maybe he can’.”


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