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Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Mancini pleased with Tevez

Following his side's 2-1 victory over Chelsea in the Premier League, Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini told reporters that he was pleased with Tevez's cameo and paid tribute to his side's determination to win the game.

Tevez came on in the 66th minute and made an important contribution to the game, supplying a neat reverse-pass to set-up Samir Nasri for his late winner.

Tevez had not played for the Manchester City first-team since his much-publicised dispute with Mancini in September last year.

"Carlos is not 100% but that is normal,'' said Mancini. "But he knows the 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.

"Samir did well but he can do better. He can improve. He is a top player. If he plays like this he can be like David Silva or Xavi if he plays.

"I don't think we have played well in the last three or four weeks. Until then we have played fantastic football. Afterwards it has been so-so. Maybe after tonight something can change.''

Samir Nasri also paid tribute to Tevez.

"I am really happy for him (Tevez),'' Nasri said. "He has showed great spirit and today showed he can be really important until the end of the season. It's good that it was him who gave him the assist."

City defender Micah Richards admitted the victory was a huge result in their battle with city rivals United for the title.

He said: "It's a massive result for us. After we went 1-0 down heads could have dropped, but we kept on going and managed to get three points.

"We did have to win tonight, we gave everything and showed good character. The lads will be delighted with that.''

Chelsea's first defeat under Roberto Di Matteo is a blow to their hopes of securing a top-four finish to squeeze into next season's Champions League.

"It is a setback for us but we look forward to the future,'' said Di Matteo. "Two weeks ago we were seven points behind third place, now we are six.

"We need to look at these things because we are going in the right direction. We showed we can match the best teams in this league.''

Di Matteo had no complaints about the handball decision that went against Michael Essien that allowed Aguero to equalise.

And he defended his decision to select Fernando Torres ahead of Didier Drogba, even though the 50 million Spain striker did not look too impressed to be replaced by the Ivorian in the latter stages.

"I just thought that for the dynamic of the team it was going to be the right decision,'' said Di Matteo. "No player is happy to be taken off but there is absolutely no problem with that.''

Di Matteo confirmed full-back Branislav Ivanovic had been replaced in the first half because of a "tight muscle'' and would be assessed in the morning.

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