Hot-head Tevez keeps Mancini's City on the boil

Manchester City 1 Bolton Wanderers 0

There is no mistaking the man with the most at Manchester City. The statistics distributed before this game revealed that Carlos Tevez was the individual with the most shots on target (28), off target (17), assists (4), offsides (15) and fouls (22) for his club. It is a statement of the obvious that his 10th league goal on Saturday extends his role as lead scorer.

But any successful relationship between club and player must be an interdependent one. City need Tevez so much that he can behave how the mood takes him, which is why he will escape with the extraordinary display of petulance which followed his 90th minute substitution on Saturday. The club captain was as much an embarrassment to himself as a humiliation to Roberto Mancini, his manager, who tried to dispel his abuse with an embrace, was shrugged off and in the end just pushed him away towards the dug-out.

City's attempts to smooth over this latest ruckus are helped by an interview the player has given to the club's in-house magazine, published tomorrow, in which Tevez proclaims that "of course I get on well with Roberto and I back him 100 per cent." The striker insists he and Mancini "discuss lots of things both in public and in private; we are both passionate football people" and, ironically, acknowledges the unjustified abuse his manager took from supporters for substituting him two weeks ago when simply trying to protect him from a niggling injury.

Mancini so resolutely maintains the line that the Argentine's behaviour constitutes professionalism – "I'm happy and I prefer this situation when important players don't want to leave the pitch. It was my decision because I needed to leave a tall player like Mario [Balotelli] on the pitch" – that you can only marvel at his fortitude. But the tweet Bolton's Kevin Davies sent while watching Match of the Day on Saturday offered a telling perspective from within the game. "Seeing Tevez reaction to being subbed assures me there is [sic] problems within at City – great players individually but as a team?" he said.

Tevez wouldn't get away with this behaviour under Sir Alex Ferguson's management. He was agitated virtually from the moment he had rolled home the fourth minute goal which owed everything to Yaya Touré, operating powerfully in the more advanced role Mancini has found for him, forging through the midfield to deliver the critical pass through Gary Cahill's legs. The fifth yellow card which sees Tevez miss next Saturday's visit to West Ham was his second of the season for dissent which, put with the booking for a goal celebration at Blackpool, makes this one-game ban a needless one. "He must pay attention to this situation or we will be without him a lot of times," the manager said. "One time is okay."

At Upton Park, Mancini will look to Balotelli, who judging by his refusal to rise to Zat Knight's needle, is heeding the manager's plea for presence of mind. Mancini agreed the 20-year-old was a more natural finisher than Tevez and the biggest favour Balotelli can do him is to end the dependency culture with goals of his own.

Some perspective is required. City, whose players' fancy dress Christmas party minus the manager on Saturday night passed off with nothing more eye-catching than Adam Johnson and Joe Hart's polka dot trousers, are just a point behind Chelsea now and displayed an impressive attacking intent. With Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea playing each other this month, City could ascend higher. Only profligacy deprived them a comfortable win. "I could have scored two goals out there myself," Mancini said.

Owen Coyle's side were at times guilty of throwing off the old Bolton stereotype too much. There were insufficient balls into the area for Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander to latch onto. "I don't know about [a top six or eight finish] but I do believe in my players," Coyle said. "Our strength will be our group, our togetherness and unity."

What wouldn't Mancini give for the same. He didn't know if Joleon Lescott's thoughts of a January loan move would be heeded but insisted Jerome Boateng had been left out of the squad to recover from injury rather than Friday's training ground fight with Balotelli.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition