Roberto Mancini last night hailed Carlos Tevez in Manchester City's 6-1 demolition of Norwich City at Carrow Road. But Tevez's joy at scoring a hat-trick later turned sour when he walked out of a television interview after being asked about a diving incident in the first half, for which he was booked.
Tevez was making only his second start in six months after falling out with Mancini but, as Manchester United's lead at the top was cut to two points, the City manager praised Tevez's contribution. "The team did well without Carlos for six months," Mancini said. "But that is in the past, I think about the present. Everyone can make a mistake and it is important that you apologise. It is impossible to be perfect."
When Tevez was asked by the interviewer if it was nice to be back, he replied: "Yes, I am man of the match? Thank you." As Tevez took the bottle of champagne, he was asked if he had dived in the area in the first-half. Tevez said: "No" and left abruptly. Vincent Kompany, Tevez's team-mate, said: "We've realised that for a couple of months we didn't perform to our best. But we said, for the last four games, we have to show we are capable of finishing the season without regrets."
Mancini maintained that United – who have a game in hand and play Aston Villa at Old Trafford today – will retain their title. "It is impossible to catch them," the Italian said. "The race is finished. It is too late."