KEIR RADNEDGE in Manchester: Terry Venables believes that Roberto Mancini’s decision to welcome back Carlos Tevez into the Manchester City ‘family’ could make all the difference in the Premier League title race.
Venables – former England, Tottenham and Barcelona manager – was addressing the Soccerex European Forum in that particular city which boasts the top two teams in the country. United currently lead City by three points with eight rounds of matches remaining.
Tevez has had an immediate impact on returning to City after his three-month vanishing act back home in Argentina following his subs’ bench rebellion in Munich last September.
Venables said: “I think Mancini has dealt with things well. The Tevez thing was a difficult one. It’s not new to have people say they want to leave the club or don’t want to play but it’s usually behind closed doors.
“But it’s not usually in a giant situation of a Champions League game with virtually the world watching that someone refused to come out and warm up – at least, that’s how it looked, like a kick in the teeth for the manager.
“Yet this is a player who works so hard for the team, it’s a contradiction. As a player he is not like that and he could end up being the guy who makes the difference, I didn’t find his behaviour particularly attractive but he can play and with some players you have to make an exception because they’re worth it.”
Clarifying his praise of City manager Mancini, Venables added: “Your biggest problem as a manager is that you try to teach the whole squad how to behave so you know the others players are watching how you deal with Tevez.
“If you brush it under the carpet then one player will try it on, then another. If you don’t stop players when they’re doing something that’s not right, you can lose the rest of the team. In any club the most important thing is the strength of the players.”
Venables also talked about the difficulties of the England job. He indicated Tottenham’s Harry Redknapp was his favourite but he thought the Football Association should be more open about the selection process and not leave a decision until just before the Euro 2012 finals.
He added: “Harry seems to be most people’s choice which is important because, as an England manager, you have to have the country behind you. It may end badly but it’s important to start well.”
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