City optimism in short supply as Tevez heads for hamstring scan

Meanwhile, transfer talk resurfaces with Inter keen on £30m deal

Carlos Tevez will undergo the hamstring scan today which will dictate whether he will play a part in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final, though the initial prognosis of the Manchester City doctors is as gloomy as Roberto Mancini indicated in the immediate aftermath of defeat to Liverpool.

Tevez was on a day off yesterday, delaying a confirmed verdict from Mancini's medical staff, but a two-week absence is their initial view, which would also put Tevez out of the league visit to Blackburn on Monday week. A contribution at Wembley from the Argentine – whose interview for Saturday evening's match programme forms one of the main items on City – cannot be entirely ruled out. He has had a habit of dramas preceding matches against Manchester United – including his questioning of Mancini's training methods and, in February, his daughter severing her fingers in a door – only for him to put things behind him and become the hero of the hour. But there was little optimism to be found around Carrington yesterday about the prospects of a player, described last week by Gary Neville as City's best player by a distance, appearing against his old club.

As the season reaches its finale, there is no more certainty that City have managed to settle the 27-year-old in the four months since chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak sat him down at Eastlands and told him that his transfer request would not be granted. Reports in Italy yesterday suggested that Internazionale are ready to offer Tevez an escape and are keen to sign him in a £30m deal, with his compatriot Diego Milito heading to Eastlands as part of a deal. The suggestions from Italy are that if Tevez is allowed to leave for San Siro, Inter would not impede Mancini's attempts to sign forward Alexis Sanchez from Udinese.

The "mistake" Mancini admitted to making in the aftermath of Monday's match may be the decision to play Tevez at Anfield, rather than avoid throwing him into a City performance described by Gareth Barry yesterday as the club's worst of the season. There had been initial doubts about Tevez's availability for City's home match with Sunderland a week earlier as he recuperated from a 2mm tear to his groin and in the circumstances, Mancini may now wonder why he risked Tevez for that game.

The more likely meaning of Mancini's admission of culpability at Anfield appears to be his decision to keep Nigel de Jong on the bench. Mancini said in the Anfield press room late on Monday night that his mistake had been "both" one of tactics and preparation and Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll would surely not have dominated the space in front of the City defence had the Dutchman been there.

Gareth Barry pinpointed that area of Liverpool domination as the critical one. "Liverpool's front two were probably the difference between the two teams," Barry said. "Their movement caused us a lot of problems. They pinned us back and created a lot of chances." Barry declared it was "too early to say" if Tevez would be missing on Saturday – "you never know" – and admitted that it had been hard to get thoughts of the United clash out of mind, despite the greater significance of maintaining the pursuit of a top-four place. "It's hard not to think about that [United] game because it was getting mentioned even when it was two or three weeks away," Barry said.

Mancini had few alternatives defensively, except perhaps to field Pablo Zabaleta at right-back in Micah Richards' absence rather than Dedryck Boyata, who struggled in a dreadful defensive display by City. With Richards not fit for Wembley, Mancini could now have used the pace of Nedum Onuoha, committed on loan at Sunderland, and generally a player who performs better in the second half of the season. The central defensive partnership of Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott also looks less secure than Kolo Touré and Kompany.

The reaction of James Milner to his own substitution did not provide any sense that City are fighting for Mancini and if Tevez is missing for Wembley, it will be for the manager to engender a spirit in the side which enables them to play with freedom and belief. It is often forgotten that nurturing a fervent underdog is something Mancini built a reputation on during his Italian career. When he took over the debt-ridden Fiorentina after hanging up his boots in 2001, he took them to an Italian Cup. His popularity with the players there and at his beloved Sampdoria is legendary.

Kenny Dalglish is certainly building that kind of popularity at Anfield, where 18-year-old debutant John Flanagan discovered two hours before kick-off that he was starting against City. Flanagan yesterday revealed that his father had been a Liverpool trainee who did not make the grade but once cleaned the current manager's boots.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before