Tevez helps United regain top spot

Manchester United 2 Manchester City 0

Carlos Tevez delivered the most personal message possible to Sir Alex Ferguson as he helped Manchester United move to within four points of an 18th league title.

After admitting this morning that his future almost certainly lies away from Old Trafford, Tevez drilled home a superb first-half shot before racing away to celebrate, alone, in a very pointed manner, right in front of his manager.

Not only was the goal a perfect way for the South American to express his frustration at a move that now looks destined not to happen, it also snatched at the straw Liverpool were clutching at, with United knowing another win at Wigan on Wednesday will virtually clinch a record-equalling 18th championship.

The Tevez situation is somewhat complicated, far more than just whether Ferguson thinks he is any good.

After all, any United player deciding the eve of a crucial game on the title run-in was a good time to air public views on his future, or lack of it, would normally be good enough reason for Ferguson to exclude him altogether.

Tevez though is a crowd favourite and a player of extreme talent.

So, with Wayne Rooney needing a rest, the South American must have been one of the first names on the home team sheet as United searched for the first three of the seven points required to clinch the title before Liverpool next play.

The United fans have made their feelings perfectly clear for a long time now, bellowing 'Sign him up' at regular intervals.

However, it has to be asked whether, in the present economic climate, £30 million can be justified on a player like Tevez, a bustling, energetic whizzball of a striker, yet one who does not possess the extra class of a Ronaldo.

Yet, having declared the likelihood of him leaving, confirming in the process that United had not so much as made him an offer to stay, Tevez had clearly decided this was the day to make a statement.

The former West Ham star had already curled a shot against the post when he collected Dimitar Berbatov's short pass a minute before the break.

He took aim and fired, gleefully watching his shot crash into Shay Given's net off the Irishman's left-hand post.

Tevez's reaction was instant. He raced straight to the halfway line, directly in front of the dug-outs, waving away all team-mates, and stood, cupping his hands to his ears listening to the cacophony of noise.

Directly opposite, Ferguson celebrated too, a rueful smile spreading across his face. Above him, chief executive David Gill looked down, knowing he will be the one who has to ask for - and then write - the cheque should the Glazer family agree Tevez's registration should be extracted from Kia Joorabchian.

At that precise moment, an 18th league championship had almost been forgotten.

As Ronaldo had already found the net with one of his blockbuster free-kicks though, United fans spent half-time knowing they were taking a significant step towards it, Liverpool's hopes evaporating on the back of a City side who played good football without threatening the home goal.

Mark Hughes knows all too well the standards United have been performing to for almost two decades now.

Hughes does seem to have got the balance of his own team right. But there is clearly still a very long way to go before they can compete for anything more than scraps off the world champions' table.

Indeed, if Tevez's prodding goes unheeded by United, it is a fair bet the Welshman was listening too as he assessed the next move forward for his club, who still harbour hopes of a place in the new Europa League.

Ronaldo's 26th goal of the season was a corker. Only 30 yards this time the distance as the Portugal superstar belted home his 18th-minute opener.

His delight did not last that long as, on the hour, he was replaced by Wayne Rooney.

The decision did not go down well. Ronaldo's future has also been the subject of intense speculation of course and he angrily swiped at some TV equipment before taking a seat in the dug-out, shaking his head in clear annoyance at the decision even though, injury permitting, he is certain to face Barcelona later this month.

A further problem arose for Ferguson in an apparent hamstring injury suffered by Jonny Evans, who was only called into battle himself when Rio Ferdinand suffered a calf injury in training yesterday.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
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

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?