Man City V Aston Villa at Etihad Stadium : Match Preview
Tevez poser continues for Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini who on Friday said he does not know whether Carlos Tevez will play for the club again.
Tevez is now the subject of internal disciplinary proceedings after an investigation into his alleged refusal to play against Bayern Munich a fortnight ago concluded he does have case to answer.
Journalists at Mancini's pre-planned press conference ahead of Saturday's game against Aston Villa were told Tevez discussion was off limits but that did not prevent the subject arising. When asked whether the 27-year-old Argentinian still has a future at the club, Mancini said: "I don't know." That remark will undoubtedly be analysed for its meaning as Mancini said, more definitively, that Tevez was "finished" at City after the Champions League loss at the Allianz Arena.
Mancini claimed Tevez had refused to play as a substitute during the second half in Munich and the player was subsequently suspended for two weeks while the investigation was conducted. Tevez returned from his suspension to train alone at the club's Carrington complex on Thursday but Mancini was denied the opportunity to say whether he would be available for selection during the disciplinary process.
A City official on Friday read a statement saying: "We have been unable to allow questions about Carlos Tevez today, either to Carlos in general, his alleged conduct on the night in question, or the ramifications of that conduct. "Questions also in relation to his future at the club are strictly off limits today and won't be answered. Breaches of this will result in the press conference being suspended."
Tevezs case may not be resolved until December if it runs its full course, which would include two rights of appeal. However, Mancini did give an indication Tevez was not in his plans when he addressed how many strikers he had available for the Villa game. "We have three strikers at this moment," he said, although he added he would not take risks with the almost fit-again Sergio Aguero after an adductor injury.
Fellow forward Mario Balotelli has overcome a back problem while Owen Hargreaves could come into contention to make his league debut. For the rest of his press conference, Mancini tried to steer the subject onto what he feels are more pressing matters. He said: "It is better that we talk about Aston Villa. "Now it is important we focus on the next week. We have three important games - Aston Villa, Villarreal and Manchester United."
Alex McLeish does not expect Villa to gain any advantage from the Tevez situation at the Etihad Stadium, and pinpointed David Silva as the dangerman on Saturday. McLeish expects the City players to adjust to life without Tevez and knows all about Silva's attacking qualities after seeing him score twice for Spain against Scotland in midweek.
"I don't think the Tevez situation will affect the mindset of the City players. I don't think it would bother the players too much. "They get on with it because I know in my time as a player that, when managers and players left, the media would say `it's the end of the world`. "After about a week or two, after reading all the hype, then you just get on with it. "As a player you are only really looking after yourself and making sure you are ready and prepared for any game coming up."
McLeish added: "I wouldn't expect Tevez to be in the squad but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it because we know they've got fantastic replacements. "We know whatever side City put out that they have a very strong team and on paper they should be too strong for most teams in the Premier League. "We saw that from Silva's performance the other night for Spain and they can even play him up front. "He is a quality player, he is fantastic, but most of the whole of Spain is fantastic and what a generation of players they have at their disposal. "He is a great player, has settled in at Manchester City really well after a sticky start. "I remember Roberto Mancini talking about him, saying it takes foreign players that bit longer to adapt, but you can be sure he has adapted well and he did great for Spain the other night."
McLeish has been impressed with the resurgence this season of striker Gabriel Agbonlahor who has been declared fit to face City after a back problem. Villa midfielders Stephen Ireland (foot) and Barry Bannan (Achilles) plus defender James Collins (foot) are expected to be available. But striker Nathan Delfouneso (hamstring) and on-loan Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas (Achilles) are ruled out. end
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