James Lawton: 'Win at any price' sums up Tevez recall

It is desperate because it says that the ethos of City is not primarily about shaping a team

You don't need an elephant's memory to remember what happened the last time Carlos Tevez appeared against Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City beat the reigning champions who produced a pulsating start to their title defence, winning their first five games as though they were scything down so many stalks of wheat.

Chelsea had brimmed with composure and invention under the direction of Carlo Ancelotti but soon enough they were on the back foot, put there by a ferocious performance by City and a typically swaggering strike from Tevez.

Maybe City manager Mancini recalls that match in September 2010 as vividly as any of his players currently queuing up to forgive what some would say was the unforgivable and welcome Tevez back to the team he betrayed so profoundly in Munich. It is surely the only coherent explanation for yesterday's indication by Mancini that Tevez may well appear on the bench for tonight's pivotal game against Chelsea.

Mancini says that Tevez's apology has been given and accepted and team-mates like Micah Richards, Kolo Touré and Joe Hart have been falling over themselves to declare that the man who went missing in action in Bavaria and then ran all the way back to Argentina is now crucial to City's chances of fighting back off the shoulder of odds-on title favourites Manchester United.

What do you do? Praise the City manager and his players for pure hard-nosed pragmatism? Or say they wouldn't know a working principle, a set of values to be reasonably embraced by any bunch of prospective champions, if it came at them lit by neon and wired for stereophonic sound?

Or if you want to put the second proposition – which is certainly the one favoured here – a little differently, did we ever have a much better definition in football of a willingness to win at any price?

Some City fans may say that given all their years of waiting, and all the evidence that player loyalty is generally as good as the last strategic conversation with his agent, they will take a little bit of help from wherever it comes.

Why not glean a little value from a player of proven scoring ability and, when his mood is right, a most formidable fighting instinct?

Who knows, yesterday's treachery may just inspire today's vital touch of redemption. The goal against Chelsea, when he repeatedly tore at the partnership of John Terry and Alex, was one of four in three appearances against tonight's opponents. Undoubtedly he is a big-game player, the man who in the last World Cup was referred to affectionately as "Carlitos the team player" by Diego Maradona.

There have certainly been less plausible arguments for desperate selections, into which of course we have to place the possibility of Tevez's return.

It is desperate because it says that the ethos of City is not primarily concerned with the shaping of a team of shared values, of implicit faith in the competitive nature and conscience of every player who wears the shirt, but getting across that finish line first, however many compromises have littered the track.

There was some reason to believe that such dickering with fate was on the point of exile after Munich.

Mancini said Tevez had carried himself beyond the pale but of course circumstances have changed. City need to win a title and recoup some of the vast monies invested in the man who defected and then sneered at the city which had been so free with its gifts and its affection.

City, we are told, would quite like to beef up Tevez's price with fresh evidence that he remains a vital asset for such teams as his recent suitors Internazionale and Milan. It is a not insignificant factor, apparently, for the club who have strived so hard to buy in the glory.

Excluded from the budget, however, is the money it might take to declare that some things have a value way beyond a timely goal and a leg-up in any title race.

By kick-off tonight such a notion may well be lost in the need for the kind of impact that became the Tevez trademark and about which Hart says: "We've got energy in the team and a lot of firepower but Carlos brings us more of that and having him back will be like a new signing."

Maybe, but the temptation is surely to believe that more than a new signing, City are in need of some old certainties about who they are and what they stand for. In men like Sergio Aguero, Yaya Touré and David Silva there were powerful suggestions that such underpinning might be coming. Instead we have the return of Tevez – and from where?

It is a place which you have to say would be most any club's ground zero.

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil