Roberto Mancini plays down bust-up with Carlos Tevez

Roberto Mancini has admitted there was a dressing room bust up with captain Carlos Tevez at the weekend but dismissed concerns about it as “a load of tosh” and described it as “the alarm call everyone needed” after an anodyne first half against Nerwcastle United.

Mancini is understood to have taken issue with the impromptu half time team talk Tevez had started before the manager arrived and to have told Tevez to sit down. But he insisted yesterday that “there is a different [dressing room]mentality than in Italy. Now and then a good shakeup is healthy here."

The City manager is clearly still indignant about Tevez’s discontent with the new regime’s double training sessions, a stance which the Argentine maintained in a recent interview. "It’s a myth. I've only imposed double training sessions for three to four days last season. Not once this season," Mancini retorted. "Yet the media go on and on with this." But he said that the row with Tevez, which saw him initially tell the player that he was going to be substituted, worked in the club’s favour. (ital)Con le palle(close) (ballsy) was the expression the manager used to describe the captain’s conduct.

“What happened happens in our dressing room,” Mancini said. “And when it matters it is good that it happens. Against Newcastle, City slept in the first half and the confrontation with Tevez was the alarm call everybody needed. We sorted everything between us before the restart. When I took him off at the end we shook hands."

In his interview with La Gazetta dello Sport, the City manager again questioned Adam Johnson, despite the England international’s match winning performance on Sunday. "Adam is young, but has got what it takes,” the manager said. “He only needs to understand it is not enough to dribble past an opponent six times to feel entitled to feel at the top. You need to dribble as well as a cutting shot like the goal against Juve[ntus] in last week’s Europa League tie, or the 2-1 against Newcastle. If I didn't believe in Adam's potential I would not work him like this"

Mancini said he would “be happy” if the second place City current hold can be attained at the end of the season and dismissed the suggestion that Chelsea’s ascendant position can be reversed. "No exaggerations, please. City have still to improve a lot. We would be happy with second. But you never can tell in football.”

Mancini maintained his defence of Nigel de Jong following his tackle which broke the leg of Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa but did not condone the same player’s challenge for Holland on Xabi Alonso in the World Cup final. "That was a tackle out of order, uncoordinated in the extreme. But I hope that referees continue to evaluate De Jong in fairness. De Jong plays with grit, but he's not dirty. He tackles hard, but never intending to hurt."

The Italian striker Mario Balotelli may be back to face Arsenal on October 24, according to the manager, who said check-ups with the 20-year-old’s knee specialist in Pavia last Friday and again on Monday had been promising. The striker privately indicated two weeks ago that he was still experiencing tenderness in the knee and that his recovery may be longer. Ends

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