Mancini hails 'top player' Tevez

20 March 2012 11:46

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini claims Carlos Tevez has been 'perfect' since returning to training and is hungry for action.

Tevez is poised to make his first appearance for the club for exactly six months on Wednesday with Mancini expected to name him on the bench for the Barclays Premier League visit of Chelsea. The Argentinian has not played for City since falling into dispute with the club following the Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich but he has since apologised and returned to training.

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. I can see in training he is perfect, better than last year."

He added: "He wants to play and deserves to play and help the team.

"I have always thought Carlo is a top player, even when we had the problem."

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 against Chelsea.

Mancini is not expecting Tevez, who spent most of the winter in Argentina without permission, to be ready to start until next month. But after two run-outs for the reserves, the Italian believes the time is now right to bring him back into the first-team fold.

He said: "He is getting better but I don't think Carlo can have more than 25-30 minutes. A player like Carlo needs to play but for 90 minutes, at this moment, it is impossible. If he can play 30 minutes, after that 45 in three or four games, then he could have 90 minutes, easily."

City still have defensive problems ahead of the game with first-choice centre-backs Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott injured.

Lescott is ruled out with a groin problem while captain Kompany is unlikely to return from a calf injury.

Source: PA