Tevez scores as City thrashes West Brom 4-0
Carlos Tevez marked his first Premier League start since September with a goal as Manchester City kept alive its faint title hopes with a 4-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday.
Fellow Argentina striker Sergio Aguero weighed in with two goals as City made the most of Manchester United's surprising 1-0 loss at Wigan to trim the gap to its neighbor to five points with five games left each.
The two teams still have to play each other at City's Etihad Stadium on April 30, meaning there is still plenty to play for despite City manager Roberto Martinez's negative assessment.
''The title race is finished because United is a fantastic team and they have a fantastic spirit,'' Mancini said. ''I think five points is too much.''
Aguero opened the scoring in the sixth minute and made it 2-0 in the 54th, taking his tally for the campaign to 19 goals - third in the league behind Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
Tevez, starting in place of the suspended Mario Balotelli, drove home a deflected shot in the 61st after running onto a pass from Aguero before Spain playmaker David Silva added a fourth three minutes later.
The return to the starting lineup of Tevez - a former United player - may be the catalyst for a late run at the title for City, which hasn't won the English championship since 1968.
With Balotelli banned for two more bans, and Mancini suggesting the Italy striker may not feature again this season, Tevez could have a long run in the team alongside Aguero.
''I'm happy for him and his performance,'' Mancini said of Tevez, who grabbed his first goal in any competition since May. ''He is not ready to play one (full) game. He played 60 minutes. He can improve in the last five games.''
Tevez has been slowly reintegrated into the first team after returning to the club in February following three months of unauthorized leave in his native country.
That came after he fell out with Mancini for refusing to warm up when he was a substitute in a Champions League match against Bayern Munich in September.
Tevez has been a substitute for the last four matches.
West Brom is 10 points clear of the relegation zone but should be safe.
''It's disappointing to lose by four goals. That doesn't happen often. But we were beaten by a better team,'' West Brom manager Roy Hodgson said. ''It was a very dominant performance by Man City and we were always fighting to get in the game.''