Manchester City assistant boss David Platt has revealed hat-trick hero Carlos Tevez was taken off during Saturday's FA Cup win over Barnsley to prevent the risk of injury.
Tevez scored three and created the other two as City romped to a 5-0 victory over the npower Championship outfit to book an appearance in the last four for the second time in three years. It was the perfect way to end a week that saw him arrested on suspicion of driving whilst disqualified.
But Tevez did not see the game through until the end. For, with Sergio Aguero presently sidelined by a knee injury, City cannot afford to take any chances. "His hamstrings just tightened up at the end, which is why we took him off," said Platt. "Hopefully with a couple of days test he will be back again and ready for next week."
Tevez has now moved on to 15 goals for the season, with the South American finding the net in his last four matches after scoring just once in his previous 11. Not that City were ever concerned about the situation.
"Carlos has got better as the season has gone on," said Platt. "He had a little patch where he didn't score goals but he has had efforts on goal and was full value for this hat-trick."
Tevez missed the last four triumph over former club Manchester United in 2011. However, the striker had recovered to skipper his team to victory against Stoke in the final.
And given City crashed out of Europe at a depressingly early stage and have the improbable task of clawing back United's 12-point lead over the final 12 games to retain the Barclays Premier League, Tevez is acutely aware how important this particular tournament could be.
"It is important for us because we are out of the Champions League and behind in the Premier League," said Tevez. "We want to go to Wembley and make it special. I do have wonderful memories of that day. What we have to do now is try to win it again."
Barnsley boss David Flitcroft was honest enough to admit his side had been taught a lesson by a group of players operating at a significantly higher level than his own.
"If they are the second best team in the country, I wouldn't like to have played Manchester United," he said. "They were ruthless. They battered us to a pulp at half-time and then came out second half and tried to drill us into the floor. They wanted to get seven, eight, nine, 10 goals. At times it was a real slow death."