Like a dog? I actually treated Tevez too well, growls Mancini

City manager angry at barbs from striker who is now 'not in my plans for the next three months'

Porto

If Carlos Tevez expected his return to Manchester would see him greeted like a returning prodigal, he was given the strongest indication that he still does not feature in his manager's plans.

Roberto Mancini was said to be "hurt and angry" by comments that the Argentine felt he had been "treated like a dog" by the Manchester City manager, who said he had no plans to talk about him for the next three months.

Since a returning Tevez would be the subject of fierce questioning, it suggests the 28-year-old will spend his time in the same way he did in the weeks immediately after his alleged refusal to warm up against Bayern Munich in September – training by himself.

Mancini has been given full authority by the club's owners to deal with all football matters as he sees fit. The absence of genuine contrition in Tevez's interview with Fox Sports that so infuriated Mancini suggests he has seriously misjudged his manager.

"I will answer this question [about Tevez]) only once and no more," said Mancini as he prepared to face Porto tonight without Tevez, who is not part of City's Europa League squad. "I totally disagree with what Carlos says because I have never treated him badly.

"Maybe it is the opposite and I have treated him too well. Always. I don't want to talk any more. This is the last question I will answer on him for the next three months."

Only the second most controversial footballer in Mancini's squad was on the plane that landed in Portugal yesterday to face a side who have lost just one of their last 55 league matches.

Mario Balotelli, a man whose antics Mancini has taken to describing with a smile and a resigned shrug of the shoulders, like a father talking about an errant child, was at the airport while Tevez was back in the city that he denigrates as possessing only two restaurants, knowing he will have to eat considerably more helpings of humble pie even to be considered for selection.

This is Balotelli's first match since he was banned for four matches for stamping on Tottenham's Scott Parker. It is also his first taste of the Europa League since a chest-high challenge on Dynamo Kiev's Goran Popov that was primarily responsible for City's elimination from the competition last season and which triggered unrestrained fury in his manager. Nevertheless, his talent is unquestioned and the sweeping arcs of the Estadio do Dragao may be the perfect inspiration. "If we are to win the Europa League and the Premier League, it is important to have all our players," said Mancini. "Mario is one of them. We will have three strikers available against Porto [Balotelli, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko] and that is a good thing for me and for this game.

"If his head is OK in the next two months, he will be an important player. It is difficult to define Mario. We know he is a fantastic player. He is young and sometimes he will make mistakes but, if he can keep his composure for the next three months, he will be an important player for us."

The Europa League is a relatively minor competition but it is one Mancini's side is likely to take rather more seriously than Manchester United, whose manager has already spoken of the danger of a Thursday-Sunday playing schedule derailing his drive for the club's 20th league title. Sir Alex Ferguson can pick and choose his trophies, City can't.

"We want to win the Europa League because it is a long time since City won a European trophy," said Mancini, whose failure to make an impact in Europe was his only stumbling block at Internazionale. "Last season we won the FA Cup after a long time and winning a trophy in Europe would be a big step for the club."

A far more delicate decision than fielding Balotelli is whether Mancini risks the Touré brothers, after the stunning disappointment of losing the final of the African Cup of Nations, a competition for which their country, Ivory Coast, were overwhelming favourites.

Sunday's final, in which Kolo missed a penalty and Yaya was substituted, saw the crushing of hopes of another nation's golden generation. And as the brothers flew directly to Portugal from Abidjan, their physical condition as much as their mental state would be open to a very big question.

News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
Boris Johnson may be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron
i100
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionPart of 'best-selling' Demeter scent range
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
i100
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

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering