Roberto Mancini expects Carlos Tevez to put in committed performances for Manchester City if he is still at the club beyond the end of the month.
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City’s wantaway talisman has been linked persistently with a move to Inter Milan recently – but Mancini insists there has been no approach and the Argentinian will return to normal training next week.
Tevez is not available for Sunday’s season-opening Community Shield clash against Manchester United having been granted a 21-day break following the end of his involvement in the Copa America.
Tevez, 27, has made clear his desire to leave City but his hopes of rejoining his former Brazilian club Corinthians collapsed last month.
While other players such as Craig Bellamy and Emmanuel Adebayor are unlikely to figure in Mancini’s plans, the Italian expects Tevez to continue playing a full role if a move does not materialise.
Mancini said: "He doesn’t have another team.
"Carlos is a professional player. If he doesn’t have another team in the next 10 days or two weeks I think he will play for us and play serious like last year, like always."
When asked whether Tevez was likely to move before the transfer deadline at the end of the month, Mancini told a press conference: "I don’t know. A lot can happen in one month but if he stays I am happy."
The rumours linking the FA Cup winners with Maicon highlight a lack of cover for first-choice right-back Micah Richards.
Because of that another Argentinian, defender Pablo Zabaletta, has returned to training and will be available to play at Wembley on Sunday.
Mancini said: "Carlos comes back on Monday because he has 21 days after the Copa America.
"Zaba is here because if we had a problem with Micah we have only one fit right-back."
City’s £38million record summer signing Sergio Aguero, who was also involved in the Copa America with Argentina, will be on the bench this weekend.
The former Atletico Madrid forward has had blistered feet but is now training as normal after a 20-minute session on Thursday.
Mancini said: "Sergio is okay. He is not 100% ready but he is fit to come on the bench."
Mancini could therefore pair £24million Mario Balotelli with £27million Edin Dzeko up front against United.
The controversial Balotelli has made headlines over the summer after clashing with Mancini during City’s pre-season tour of North America.
Balotelli was also quoted this week saying he did not like the city of the Manchester.
Mancini said: "I think he wanted to say he is missing his family and friends.
"I have spoken with him many times. He loves the supporters and team-mates and likes to play in the Premier League.
"He is young, 21 years old and probably missing his family.
"This situation can happen if you want to play in another country, it is normal.
"The problem for Mario is that he is alone. He doesn’t have his family here every day. I can understand this, I don’t think it is terrible.
"But we play for Manchester City, a top team in the Premier League.
"This for me is the best championship in Europe and it is a fantastic experience for players from other countries."
The derby element, and City’s continuing attempts to overhaul its illustrious neighbours United, has added considerable spice to Sunday’s encounter against the Premier League champions.
Mancini is fired up for the game but does not think too much should be read into the result.
He said: "It is the first official match of the season.
"It is important because it is a derby and we want to win, like United.
"But I don’t think the teams at the moment are 100% ready to play."
To get his squad fully ready for the season ahead, which will see City play in the Champions League for the first time, Mancini hopes to dip into the transfer market again.
City have also signed defenders Gael Clichy and Stefan Savic in addition to Aguero this summer.
Mancini said: "We are missing other players, we don’t have enough players for all the season. This is a problem at the moment.