City need Carlos back now – Mancini
Roberto Mancini watched Manchester City draw 0-0 with Liverpool and then admitted he does not know when Carlos Tevez will return to Eastlands.
The Argentina international has been in his homeland for over a week on compassionate leave after his wife gave birth prematurely.
With Tevez’s wife Vanesa now out of hospital, although the baby is still in intensive care, Mancini wants the 26-year-old back in England.
However, there is no indication yet as to when the 19-goal striker is due to return – which is a concern for Mancini with an FA Cup replay against Stoke and a trip to Premier League leaders Chelsea in the coming days.
"I don’t know where Tevez is – I think in Argentina," said Mancini after the goalless draw at home to Liverpool.
"It’s a big problem for us because we have an important week and we don’t have Tevez. For me, it is no good.
"Carlos has been eight days at home and I don’t know if while in Argentina he has been working.
"I hope Carlos, within the next two days, can come back here because we need him. Maybe he is on the plane.
"I spoke to him three days ago. He had some problems with his family but now it has been resolved and I hope he comes back.
"I think he will come back in two days. I need him."
That all the post-match talk was about Tevez was an indication of how disappointing the encounter between two sides, fourth and fifth at the start of the day, actually was.
Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina made the one genuine save – from Emmanuel Adebayor early in the second half – of the entire 90 minutes as both teams cancelled each other out.
"Against Liverpool it is not easy to win the game – we tried but Liverpool are a good team," said Mancini.
"At the end of the game the draw was the right result as we didn’t concede any chances to Liverpool and they did not concede any chances to us.
"We played against a top squad and we played very well, as a team, which is important."
In the first half, City were undeniably defensive but Mancini said they had not set out for a draw from the beginning.
"If you want to win, first you must not concede a goal," added the Italian.
"But I have a big problem at the moment as I only have Adebayor in attack as Craig Bellamy worked with the team only the last two days, Tevez is in Argentina, Roque (Santa Cruz) has a problem with his knee."
Fans jeered at the final whistle, as they did in the FA Cup tie against Stoke, but Mancini was not worried by that.
"Today’s game was difficult for us because Liverpool are maybe a second or third-placed team," he added.