LONDON: Roberto Mancini has cautioned that it will be at least another 10 days before Carlos Tevez is back to his best even though, six months after his Bayern bust-up, the Argentinian came off the substitutes’ bench thjis time to inspire a 2-1 comeback win over Chelsea.
With City trailing for the first time on home soil this season through Gary Cahill’s deflected opener, Tevez was involved in the early stages of the attack that brought the hosts level thanks to Sergio Aguero’s penalty.
Five minutes from time, the Argentinian provided the assist from which Samir Nasri struck the winner, a goal which lifted City within one point of champions, leaders and neighbours Manchester United.
Manager Mancini said later: “Carlos is not 100pc but that is normal. He knows football. That was important because he did an incredible assist for Samir. What happened with him finished one month ago when Carlos came back and everything was finished.
“I have spoken to Carlos every day in the last month. He knew he would be on the bench today and would probably play for 20 minutes. If he can find good form in 10 days that would be important for us. Now it is important for him to play some games, for us, him and his future.”
Mancini said he hoped skipper Vincent Kompany would recover from a calf strain in time to face Stoke on Saturday but Joleon Lescott has already been ruled out with a hip complaint.
Chelsea’s first defeat under caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo was a setback to their hopes of securing a top-four finish to squeeze into next season’s Champions League.
Di Matteo said: “Two weeks ago we were seven points behind third place, now we are six. We are going in the right direction. We have shown we can match the best teams in this league.”
Arsenal leapfrogged Tottenham to go third in the table after Thomas Vermaelen’s early goal earned all three points in a 1-0 win at Everton while Spurs could only draw at home to Stoke – and then only thanks to a stoppage-time equaliser from Rafael Van der Vaart. Cameron Jerome had scored for Stoke 15 minutes earlier.
Arsenal, who trailed Spurs by 10 points just four games ago, now lead their north London rivals by a point. Spurs are five points clear of fifth-placed Chelsea ahead of Saturday’s potentially crucial trip to Stamford Bridge.
QPR hit back remarkably from 2-0 down with three goals in the last13 minutes to beat Liverpool 3-2 at Loftus Road. Goals from Sebastian Coates and Dirk Kuyt had put the Reds firmly in command but Shaun Derry, former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie struck to secure three points which could prove vital for Rangers in the relegation battle.
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