Premier League

Tevez keen to win over doubters

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Sun, 03 Mar 2013 10:17:00

PSG director Leonardo suggested his team are more suited to playing in the Champions League than Ligue 1 after an embarrassing defeat to 10-man Reims.

Carlo Ancelotti's side went down 1-0 in Reims as Grzegorz Krychowiak scored in the 64th minute, six minutes after the hosts had Christopher Glombard sent off for a second bookable offence.

PSG had already seen Zlatan Ibrahimovic denied a goal for a questionable offside decision, but missed several other chances and surrendered vital ground in the tight Ligue 1 title race.

It was a second away defeat in a row for PSG and Leonardo warned there could be more as his expensively-assembled team was constructed for grander stages.

"We are perhaps not made to play in these types of games," the Brazilian told Infosport. "We created a team to play in the Champions League, not the championship.

"We don't know yet how to handle games where the situation is against us, where the surface is difficult and we have an important game every three days."

However bold their ambitions on the continental stage, Leonardo admitted they must find a way to win at home in order to stay in control of the title race.

"When games are based on a fight, we do not succeed," he said. "We will have to learn how to face games like these when it gets tough, as they are common here and this will not be the last time."

But while Leonardo's comments seemed to question PSG's title credentials, coach Carlo Ancelotti insisted he had no worries about his team's attitude.

"It's a big disappointment, because we had the opportunity to win this game with the chance for (Ezequiel) Lavezzi in the first half and the (disallowed) goal of Ibrahimovic in the second," Ancelotti said.

"The only thing I can say is we have to accept this defeat and better manage matches like this."

Prior to this match, PSG had enjoyed back-to-back victories over rivals Marseille in the league and cup, but they also lost their last league outing away from home in losing 3-2 to Sochaux.

"This is different to Sochaux," Ancelotti added. "Today we do not have any attitude problem. It was not a problem of concentration, but a technical thing. We encountered difficulties in the game because the pitch was not good. If you cannot play football, it is hard.

"But I cannot be angry because the team is doing a good job and we are still leading (the table). We might have won if Lavezzi took that chance and then the officials had made a different decision."

Tevez has re-established himself as a regular in Roberto Mancini's side this season, something that was almost unthinkable last year as he went on unauthorised leave in his homeland for several months, apparently ready to quit the game.

"I knew it wasn't going to be easy to come back," Tevez told the Sunday Times. "I'd left City and you could almost say I'd left through the back door. But it is almost like there are two Tevezes. There's the Tevez before, who had a problem, and there's the Tevez now, who no longer has problems."

Tevez said the key has been getting his family back together. Tevez had requested a transfer from City prior to his walkout when his wife and children returned to Argentina, but now they are all back in England Tevez said he has a different perspective on his football.

"It totally changes everything, your disposition, your humour, just having them close," he said. "If I wasn't selected in the past I'd be in a terrible mood. Now I'm still gutted but I go home, see my daughters, it takes my mind off it and I feel better."

The 29-year-old has 11 goals in 33 appearances in all competitions this season, not quite matching the outstanding return of his pre-walkout days but still a highly valuable part of Roberto Mancini's strikeforce.

Despite that, a sizeable number of City fans still bear a grudge after last season, with Tevez's goals often met with a more muted celebration than those of his team-mates.

Tevez can understand that, but is still working to win them over with his new attitude.

"I knew it would be difficult for the fans to accept me again," he said. "But I hope, little by little, match by give everything for the shirt and win them over through hambre de gloria (hunger for glory). I was once a real idol for these fans, they were so supportive of me. I hope I'm able to win them back."

While his standing with the supporters still needs work, Tevez is adamant he and Mancini are now "fine", their once fiery relationship "a lot calmer now".

"It might be down to maturity," he added. "Maybe, before, I was under a lot more pressure. I was a leader of the team. People would often say, 'If Carlos has a bad day, City have a bad day'. Maybe you just reach a point where there's worse things in life than disappointment in football.

"If I come off the bench and score but I'm not in the next starting line-up I'm a lot more accepting."

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