I can talk Tevez into staying at City, insists upbeat Mancini

Manager denies star striker is unhappy and expects positive meeting tomorrow

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini declared last night that he is not convinced that Carlos Tevez wants to leave the club and that he believed he could persuade the striker to stay when they meet tomorrow.

Mancini has spoken to Tevez since the faxed transfer request sent by the player's lawyers reached Eastlands on Tuesday, but said that was the first time the Argentine had suggested he wanted to leave. That has reinforced Mancini's conviction that he can talk Tevez around. "I think we can change one mind, always," Mancini said. "I don't think he is unhappy, really unhappy. I don't think that."

The manager, whose side must first overcome Juventus in the Europa League in Turin tonight, was firm that Tevez has a professional duty to meet the outstanding three and a half years on his contract and that he "must" honour that. "I will say [tomorrow] that he should stay here," Mancini insisted. Though there may be a substantial difference between his private thoughts and public utterances, Mancini suggested last night that he wants Tevez available and in the right frame of mind to face Everton at Eastlands in the Premier League next Monday.

Mancini's words bore out the feelings of many around City – that Tevez does not resemble a man desperate to be on his way. The conflicting signals have certainly perplexed those who have watched him wander cheerfully into training over the past few weeks. Tevez told at least one of the ancillary staff at Carrington on Tuesday that he "wasn't leaving". Though not much can be read into that, the captain's affection for the blue-collar staff at his club is obvious. Last season when a delivery vehicle with "18 TVs for Tevez" bowled up, it transpired he had bought them one each. He was also quite willing to appear on City's Christmas video.

The player's manager, Kia Joorabchian, has yet to present a compelling case that Tevez's transfer demand is about anything but the Iranian's own rancorous feelings for the City chief executive, Garry Cook. Despite Joorabchian's extensively referring to the "promises" Cook purportedly made to Tevez and then broke, no details have been disclosed. As City's most famous supporter Noel Gallagher put it at Turin airport, the forward would be the first player to leave "because he didn't like someone in the office". Asked if he felt Tevez was being badly advised, Mancini replied: "I don't know."

Tevez trained keenly at Carrington yesterday, walking on to the field in what seemed like earnest conversation with midfielder Nigel de Jong before he was put through some sprints. Mancini rather boldly, in the context of Tevez's "pain" at missing daughters Florencia and Katie, suggested that if this was unhappiness in a player, then he wanted more of it. "If Carlos is unhappy at the moment, but has scored 10 goals, I hope he will be unhappy for the rest of the season."

Patrick Vieira, who is expected to start tonight in a side which may include the young Liberian-born England Under-20 striker Alex Nimely, said that he had noticed few signs of unhappiness in the club captain. "We haven't talked about it among the players, but in the last few days he has been the same Carlos that started the season," Vieira said.

Nimely, whose playing time for the club has been limited to the last seven minutes of City's 6-1 win at Burnley last April, has come into the frame because of the absence of Emmanuel Adebayor, whose heel injury kept him out of main squad in training yesterday, and Mario Balotelli, who also did not travel to play at a ground where he suffered racist abuse when an Internazionale player. Mancini said of Balotelli: "I decided to keep him at home because we have a difficult period of games, play every three days, so I'd like to preserve him for this reason."

City, already through their Europa League group, expect a tough test against Luigi del Neri's side, who are already out and may gain the dubious distinction of becoming only the second team in the history of Uefa club competition to draw every group game, if they hold City tonight. That could allow Lech Poznan in to win the group, though the Poles would need to beat Red Bull Salzburg by three goals, thus taking Group A on goal difference. "We want to win the group, We don't want to play a Champions League team in February," Mancini said.

The manager, unusually wearing a pair of tortoiseshell spectacles 24 hours after minor eye surgery, attempted to keep his focus on something other than Tevez, though it was not easy. Back in England, the Professional Footballers' Association chief executive, Gordon Taylor, said that fans were "disillusioned" with players such as Tevez and Wayne Rooney seeking to break contracts and that he believed clubs would start fighting back through the courts. "Speaking to individuals at the club, they worry about how far they are going to be pushed and whether players and the people influencing them will go a step too far," Taylor said. "This is going to happen more in the law courts." Mancini hopes it won't come to that.

Oasis join Tevez debate

Noel Gallagher last night said Wayne Rooney's agent Paul Stretford has contributed to Carlos Tevez's desire to leave Manchester City by raising the stakes in transfer negotiations.

Stretford has "set the bar when it comes to modern-day transfer requests", said City's most famous supporter while travelling on the club's flight to Turin. But the former Oasis man observed that, though the lure of City's greater wealth had given Rooney a negotiating ploy, there was no place higher to go for money than City. "The one thing that goes against Carlos is that he already plays for Man City so nobody can link him to us. He can't say, 'Oh, I want to go Man City because they are offering me £200,000 a week', when he's already getting £280,000 a week out of us."

Gallagher made light of claims from Tevez's agent that City's chief executive, Garry Cook, was the cause of the current dispute. "My own opinion is that he would be the first person to have left a football club because he didn't like someone in the office!"

Ian Herbert

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral