Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini sets his sights on Carlos Tevez

Roberto Mancini fielded 11 questions about Carlos Tevez in a Turin press conference last night - and five about the game his Manchester City team will play against Juventus this evening.

The City manager may have to get used to it.

Tevez isn't even here. He is in Manchester training with the other players left behind ahead of a Barclays Premier League game at home to Everton on Monday.

Manchester City's manager Roberto Mancini

Comedy value: Mancini's new look was was reminiscent of Woody Allen (below left) and Groucho Marx

WOODY ALLEN
Comedian Groucho Marx

Nevertheless, Tevez and his future now dominate everything concerning City, and this is the way it will continue to be unless the club can broker some kind of peace with their captain and his mentor, Kia Joorabchian.

It will be the same in the run-up to Monday's game. Will Mancini pick him? Will he still be captain?

City, so far, are managing their side of the public-relations battle well.

However, the longer it continues the harder it will become for City. It will be Mancini and his other players who will suffer most, rather than Tevez. If Tevez and Joorabchian wished to demonstrate their power then they have succeeded. We already knew that Tevez was the club's most important player.

This episode has underlined that point. Mancini - as revealed in Sportsmail on Tuesday - will meet Mancini at the club's training ground tomorrow. The Italian will have his fingers crossed for significant progress.

In the spotlight: Carlos Tevez with new signing Gai Assulin during training on Wednesday

In the spotlight: Carlos Tevez with new signing Gai Assulin during training on Wednesday

'I have been in Italy, he has been in Tenerife, but I will meet him Friday,' said Mancini last night.

'I won't speak to him before then. I'm disappointed with what he said because I think that we are in a good moment and we have a good position in the table. Our focus must be on that.

'It is important that we speak because we have an important game, against Everton on Monday, and some important games this month. It will be a private conversation, but I don't know what I will say yet.'

Mancini learned that Tevez had requested a move last week and did not speak to the former West Ham and Manchester United player about his logic in any detail.

The Italian and others at the club cannot understand why Tevez wants to leave. They have heard him and his advisers cite a variety of reasons, from homesickness to problems with chief executive Garry Cook to a supposed lack of ambition and unspecified broken promises.

Let's talk: Roberto Mancini confirmed he will hold a summit with unsettled star Tevez on Friday

Let's talk: Roberto Mancini confirmed he will hold a summit with unsettled star Tevez on Friday

Many at City feel Joorabchian is responsible for turning Tevez's head but Mancini did not go that far yesterday, merely saying he did not believe his top scorer to be genuinely unhappy.

'I spoke with him a lot of times this season,' he said.

juventus v man city

'The last time was last week, last Wednesday, and he told me this news.

'I hope he can continue to be "unhappy" because he has scored 10 goals already as an "unhappy" player.'

Mancini has been in Italy since Saturday's win at West Ham, undergoing a minor procedure on his left eye. He wore large, dark-rimmed glasses yesterday.

It was an unfamiliar look - somebody likened him to film star Woody Allen - but his attitude was typical. He was reserved, thoughtful and clearly wary of saying anything inflammatory.

A few hours earlier on the official City plane to Italy, musician Noel Gallagher had been somewhat less guarded.

Asked about Tevez's deeds, the former Oasis star said: 'It is disappointing because of the timing of it. Why not wait until the end of the season? But I think there's more to it than meets the eye.

'For a guy who can't even speak English, how are we supposed to believe he has got a relationship with the executives in the first place? Unless he's been trying to get himself a new deal anyway. I don't buy it.

'He would be the first person to leave a club because he didn't like someone in the office. I think it will be all right (next time he plays) because he's not the kind of player who will go missing. So, as long as he plays well, he'll be fine.

'He's been the best player we have ever had in my book and, as long as he is doing it on the pitch, the fans won't turn. I won't be booing him, anyway.'

Gallagher may be one of City's most famous followers, but his views are reflective of many fans. If Tevez can continue to play well each weekend then the issue of his future may be able to wait until January.

Mancini will continue to go about the business of trying to secure the win here that will guarantee City first place in their group. His fringe players will perhaps seek to remind him tonight in Turin's Stadio Olimpico that he does have others at his disposal if issues with Tevez cannot be resolved.

For some of them this is an important night. For their manager, the important business takes place back in Manchester tomorrow.


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