Mancini: Tevez can play starring role

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes Carlos Tevez can play a key role in the closing stages of the season.

Mancini has said he will accept Tevez’s apology for his recent conduct and bring him back to train with the first team after meeting him on Thursday.

Tevez has not played since falling into dispute with the club last September but Mancini believes the striker could be match-fit again in two or three weeks.

The 28-year-old was not registered for the Europa League because of his recent unauthorised absence but he could provide a useful option in the Barclays Premier League leaders’ final title push.

Mancini said: "Carlos can’t play in the Europa League but we will have four strikers for the Premier League and I think that will be good.

"If we go through in the Europa League it will be important to have four strikers."

Mancini was speaking after an impressive goalscoring performance from Tevez’s fellow Argentinian Sergio Aguero in Wednesday night’s Europa League win over Porto at the Etihad Stadium.

Another striker, Edin Dzeko, was also on target in the 4-0 success while Mario Balotelli was kept on the bench as City eased into the last 16 6-1 on aggregate.

Mancini said: "Sergio is another top striker but he is still young and needs to improve. He has scored a lot of goals.

"He has been important during the season but it is important now, and during the last two months, to have all the strikers available.

"I am happy also for Edin, scoring another goal.

"If we have Carlos, Mario, Edin and Sergio on the top I think it will be good for the team."

Tevez returned to Manchester last week after spending more than three months in Argentina without the club’s permission.

He has not yet met Mancini but the Italian is prepared to bury past following the player’s apology.

Despite all the problems of the past five months, Mancini is confident Tevez – the club’s top scorer for the past two seasons and former captain – will fit straight back in.

Mancini said: "I think Carlos knows the team very well. The team in the last six or seven months have played very well and is top of the Premier League.

"We know Carlos very well, he is a top striker.

"If he is good, I think he can do a good job in the next two months."

Mancini had long maintained Tevez must apologise to be considered for selection again.

The City boss said: "He has apologised, I do not have any problem."

He also told ESPN: "I think he needs two to three weeks to train, then some games."