Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez is back at his best warns David Platt


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The Independent Football

David Platt has delivered a worrying message to Manchester City's Premier League rivals - Carlos Tevez is back to his best.

City managed to end their 44-year wait for a league title last term even though Tevez went AWOL for four months following a spat with manager Roberto Mancini over his role as a substitute against Bayern Munich.

Tevez eventually returned but though he helped stabilise a season which was losing momentum and claimed another championship medal, adding to the two he got at Manchester United, the Argentina star was generally a shadow of the player he had been before.

It was widely predicted he would leave this summer and at one point he was said to be on the brink of joining AC Milan.

Tevez remains at City though. And in yesterday's 3-2 Community Shield win over Chelsea at Villa Park, he delivered the kind of performance he is noted for.

His solo second-half goal put the Blues in front after they had trailed to Fernando Torres' opener and with less than a week to the opening game against newly-promoted Southampton, assistant manager Platt believes the signs are very encouraging.

"Carlos has worked ever so hard in pre-season," he said.

"Since he has come back in he has really attacked his work and not had one day off.

"His goal was one of those you can remember him doing two years ago.

"He ducks inside, he goes away from people. That's what he's been missing and it was there again."

Platt revealed Tevez had shrugged off a knock in training prior to the game, so determined was he to play in the fixture.

It was an example of the focus 28-year-old Tevez intends to maintain throughout the season after the difficulties of last term.

They have never been an issue amongst his team-mates and Platt feels it is time to move on from the controversy.

"A lot was said and done last year. Everybody has got to hold their hands up and say mistakes were made," he said.

"But what do you do? Carlos has still got two years left on his contract.

"He is a very good player and he is playing for Manchester City.

"It is not a case of putting water under the bridge, it is a case of saying we are all batting on the same wicket here and we go forward together."

Not that the City camp is entirely a happy one.

With Joleon Lescott sitting out the game and Stefan Savic replaced at half-time as he struggled to cope with Torres, Mancini opted for just three defenders during the second period, instead reinforcing his midfield.

It is the tactic which Wigan used to such startling effect last season, but clearly did not go down well with Kolo Toure, who was left frustrated on the bench and threw his kit bag onto the team bus after apparently having a furious row with Mancini.

As one of the first things Jack Rodwell did following his £15million arrival from Everton yesterday was confirm he can play in central defence, even though he has never actually done it for the Toffeemen at senior level, Toure's future at City looks bleak.

"It is another system and another option the manager has," said Pablo Zabaleta, who started at full-back then slotted into that three-man defensive unit.

"We have been working with three at the back in pre-season and it worked well."

Toure presumably falls into the category of being surplus to requirements but hard to shift, the same as Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz.

It does present a problem for the Blues as they try to meet UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations, which Mancini would do well to remember before engaging in any escalation of his discontent with sporting director Brian Marwood.

"We are looking for other players, but I don't want to say which. Speak with Brian Marwood," he said.

"I said I was unhappy (on Friday) but this is normal. Every manager is unhappy when you have one week to go and you haven't bought any players.

"I hope we are working and maybe this week we can do something about it."