Problems with Carlos in the past - Mancini
MANCHESTER City manager Roberto Mancini has claimed his differences with Carlos Tevez are "in the past" ahead of what is expected to be a remarkable return for the Argentine at the Etihad Stadium tonight.
Mancini, who last September said Tevez was "finished" at City, is set to include the striker on the bench to face Chelsea six months after his extraordinary dispute with the club began.
That is a situation that seemed highly unlikely during the winter, not least as Tevez spent more than three months in Argentina without the club's permission and sought a transfer.
But five weeks after returning to training and subsequently apologising for his conduct, the 28-year-old is close to match fitness and Mancini is prepared to throw him into the Premier League title race.
Mancini said: "What happened with Carlo six months ago is in the past. Carlo is part of our plans for the last two months, he is a City player.
"I think Carlo in this moment wants to play football. He needs to play football, for him and for his future. He wants to play."
City trail rivals Manchester United by four points at the top of the table but are looking to cut the deficit by winning their game in hand this evening.
Tevez is not expected to be ready to start until next month, but his availability gives Mancini the extra attacking option of the club's top scorer for the past two seasons.
After leading the table since October, City were knocked off the top after losing at Swansea in their last league fixture.
That game also saw midfielder Gareth Barry (pictured above) voice dissent when he was substituted before half-time, but Mancini insists the pressure is not showing.
He said: "If the players don't do this (pull together), they are not professional players.
"Many players here have never had a chance like in this moment to win the title, never.
"If one player plays badly, he can leave the pitch after 30 minutes like Gareth Barry -- but Gareth played two bad games because he had a problem in his back."