Mancini: Tevez would be playing if he had apologised

ROBERTO MANCINI has insisted Carlos Tevez would still be part of his plans at Manchester City if he had apologised in the aftermath of his refusal to warm up during the Champions League tie at Bayern Munich last month.

“You always need to behave in a loyal way, especially if you are the captain of Manchester City, a prestigious club,” said Mancini. “Anyone can make a mistake and no error becomes irreparable. It would have been sufficient to apologies to close the case. But he didn’t want to. Now the club will decide what happens. I spend my time focusing on the team and what happens on the pitch. Tevez is still a great striker.”

Mancini brushed off the compliments that Tevez’s former coach at Manchester United, Alex Ferguson, gave him for the handling of the episode and instead said he took greater pleasure from the 6-1 defeat of United at Old Trafford.

“I did my job in an unpleasant episode,” he continued. “But it’s a lot more beautiful to receive Ferguson’s compliments for the whitewash of United. What emotions I felt that day.”

The city coach went on to say that Mario Balotelli had the potential to join Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo among the world’s greatest players, and that he is still desperate to sign Daniele de Rossi from Roma in the January transfer window. Mancini also looked ahead to next week’s crucial Champions League clash at Napoli.

Since the Tevez saga, Balotelli has emerged as a key player for City, and going into this afternoon’s clash against third-place Newcastle, has scored seven goals in his last eight matches for the club.

“He is behaving like a man and a real player, even in the national team,” Mancini told Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport. “If he gets going he’ll be worth a Messi or a Ronaldo to us.”

But the Italian is still looking to boost his squad in January, and wants to sign Roma captain De Rossi. “It’s difficult to lure a Roman footballer and a Roma fan away from Roma, because a Roman is tied to his origins and to his lifestyle. I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to renew his contract. But I won’t give up. If one day De Rossi were to put himself on the market, Man City would try to sign him, as would Real Madrid, Chelsea and all the top clubs. He is one of the few players who can be put in the best teams in the world, a complete midfielder with class and experience.”

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