Roberto Mancini declared last night that Carlos Tevez's Manchester City career is "finished" after he refused the manager's request to enter the field of play as a substitute, during an extraordinary night which saw the side comprehensively defeated 2-0 by Bayern Munich.
An emotional Mancini also declared after the game that he was "furious" with Edin Dzeko's fit of pique when substituted but it was Tevez's refusal to go on as a replacement for Samir Nasri which left the Italian more animated than at any time in his two years as City manager. "If one player earns a lot of money, plays for Manchester City in the Champions League and he behaves like this, for me he can't play. Never," Mancini said. "If we want to improve like a team, like a squad, Carlos cannot play with us. With me no – it is finished. I have helped him for two years and now he has refused to play."
The £250,000-a-week player made an attempt to defend the indefensible last night, declaring after the game that "I didn't feel right to play, so I didn't. I was top goalscorer here last season. I always act professionally so it [my future] is up to him." But Tevez's words will cut little ice since, by Mancini's account of events, Tevez had refused to go on after an hour's play because he was frustrated by the Italian's decision to replace Dzeko with Nigel de Jong – rather than himself – three minutes earlier. James Milner eventually replaced Nasri.
Asked last night if the only course of action open to him was to cancel with immediate effect Tevez's contract, which runs until 2014, Mancini said: "I don't know. I don't know. With me he is finished. Do you think at Bayern Munich a player can behave like this, at Milan, at Manchester United? No. This is the answer. This is the same with everyone." In the early hours of this morning, City beefed up security at Manchester Airport after a thread on one fans' website encouraged supporters to be there for the players' return to make their feelings on his behaviour clear to the Argentine.
The manager was also infuriated by Dzeko's act of petulance after he was justifiably removed following a poor performance. The Bosnian refused to shake the manager's hands, shook his head and threw down his tracksuit after he was removed, with City 2-0 down and in need of midfield reinforcements.
"This is the last time one player leaves the pitch and moves his head like this," said Mancini. "He played a bad game. A poor game. Next time maybe if he plays better, maybe he can stay on the pitch. I can understand why one player is disappointed. But I'm the manager, I can decide everything. Maybe sometimes I make a mistake and don't do the right things. I think every manager can do what he thinks. This is the last time he behaves like this. I should be unhappy with his performance – not Edin." Mancini fulminated even more strongly about Dzeko when he spoke to his club's website, indicating that the player will be dropped for Saturday's visit to Blackburn. "I'm furious with Dzeko's performance. Next game he will be on the bench with me," he said.
Tevez's petulance appears to be his way of revealing his frustration at having been sidelined by Mancini this season. He has started only two games this season, one in the Carling Cup, as the arrival of Sergio Aguero has enabled the manager to respond to the Argentine's summer of discontent which began with June's transfer request.
With no club willing to take Tevez on this summer, the striker may have taken a step too far on this occasion and if City do terminate their agreement with him, he will have to take a substantial pay cut elsewhere. Mancini said that City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak would be the ultimate arbiter where the player's future is concerned, though it is hard to see him going against the manager's wishes – even though terminating Tevez's contract would mean they may not recoup their investment on the player. City have never confirmed whether the £25m settlement with Manchester United two years ago is the actual figure. Mancini said: "I think he [Tevez] was disappointed because he didn't go [on] first change. Maybe. But when I said Carlos – go, for 35 minutes to the end, I think in 35 minutes we can change every result."
Pablo Zabaleta was also caught up in the fireworks. He incurred his manager's wrath for his intervention, despite joining the fray in support of the Italian. Mancini, who later apologised to Zabaleta, also remained confident that City, already five points adrift of Bayern, can progress from Group A, with two games against bottom-placed Villarreal next. "In this competition we have another four games and in my opinion we can go into the second stage," he said. "If we win the next three games we will go [through]. With 10 points we can go [through]. But a situation like tonight? Never."Reuse content