Tevez claims he 'plays for the Manchester City shirt'

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The Independent Online

Carlos Tevez has spoken of his affection for Manchester City and stated: "I play for the shirt."

The Argentinian striker took his tally for the season to 25 goals with a hat-trick in the 3-0 victory against Wigan last night.

Tevez has become a fans' favourite since arriving from Manchester United in the summer - and there is mutual respect.

He said: "I am very happy with the win and very happy for the team. It was important we won and important to score the goals for the fans because I play for the team."

Tevez's treble took City above Liverpool and left them just two points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with seven games remaining.

The key match in the race for a Champions League place could turn out to be the one against Harry Redknapp's side at Eastlands on May 5.

Tevez has turned out to be a lucky charm for City as they have never lost a league game when he has scored.

He added: "All the goals I have got are for the fans and the team. It feels great to be here and get all this support when I am on the pitch."

Tevez's partnership with Emmanuel Adebayor in the remaining matches will be crucial, according to manager Roberto Mancini.

The Italian boss wants Adebayor to quickly regain his match sharpness as he looked off the pace against Wigan following a four-match absence through suspension.

Mancini said: "I hope that Emmanuel will play better because it will be important for us. We need him and Carlos to be 100%."

Next up are struggling Burnley at Turf Moor and there will be one enforced change on Saturday as Pablo Zabaleta is ruled out through suspension.

Mancini said: "We need to fight in the last seven games and we know it will be difficult when we face Burnley.

"I want us to play better than against Wigan because we have the players. I want my team to play good football.

"A Champions League place? It is in our hands. It depends on us. We have a good chance."

Meanwhile Wigan captain Mario Melchiot joined his manager Roberto Martinez in questioning referee Stuart Attwell's decision to show a red card to Gary Caldwell with the score 0-0.

Melchiot suggested Attwell needed to "chill" and was swayed by the home fans.

Melchiot said: "He (the referee) told me he (Caldwell) was coming with two feet but for me it was one foot. Why do you make a rash decision? Why don't you just wait?

"He grabbed his card without talking to anyone. He made his mind up too quickly. Sometimes he is too quick with his decisions.

"He needs to chill a little bit more. I think he was going a little bit too fast because of the situation in the crowd. He should not be affected by that. He should focus on taking his time."

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