Edin Dzeko hopes manager Roberto Mancini can no longer overlook him for a regular starting role after stepping off the bench to be Manchester City's match-winner again.
Dzeko netted in the 88th minute to grab the winning goal in a 2-1 success over Tottenham after the champions had trailed. A first-half Steven Caulker header shocked City and it was not until the 65th minute that Sergio Aguero levelled. Dzeko, who had twice already retrieved losing positions for City this season, then proved decisive again as time ticked down.
- Jolly: City's Silva lining returns against Spurs
- Fitch: Is Clint Dempsey good enough for Spurs?
- Curtis: City exorcise the ghosts of Christmas past
Asked if he had a message for his boss after the game, Dzeko told Sky Sports 1: "The goals are my message. That's the only thing. It's not the first time (he has scored the winner) but it is a good feeling of course.''
City goalkeeper Joe Hart was left red-faced for Spurs' opener, although the home defence allowed Caulker the space to get on the end of the free-kick. And while Dzeko admitted City's recent defensive lapses were a cause for concern he believes the character of the team shone through.
"Again from a free-kick we conceded a goal as stupid as against Arsenal,'' he said. "We have to improve there. But after goal we were the better team for the 90 minutes and in the end we deserved it.
"Even when we are losing we come back. I hope next time we winning 1-0 and then go on and win the game. This is much harder to play.''
Less than 24 hours after United had roared back from two goals down to win at Aston Villa, City recovered from a half-time deficit to complete a 2-1 win over Tottenham. And just as Javier Hernandez has become the Red Devils' super-sub with his exploits off the bench, so Edin Dzeko has done the same for City, scoring an 88th-minute winner today after Sergio Aguero had levelled Steven Caulker's opener.
"If there is a comparable situation to this one, it is Javier Hernandez yesterday,'' acknowledged Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas. "In the last three games he has scored six times. He has come on and made a difference.
"Today, Dzeko made the difference with the ambition to show he deserves to be in the final XI. It was an individual moment of brilliance, which is recurrent for a player who continues to be on the bench but continues to come on to destroy the opposition.''
Amazingly, whilst United have come from behind to win eight times this season in all competitions, City have done it four times in the Premier League. It moved them back to within two points of leaders United and extended their unbeaten home record in the Premier League to 35 games.
Not bad for a team said to be in crisis after another disappointing Champions League experience against Ajax in midweek.
"We are not playing to answer questions,'' said City coach David Platt. "We are playing to win football matches. That is what our focus is. We don't get motivated because people want to say things outside our camp. There is a football match to win that gets us three points.''
Platt is anxious for Dzeko not to get labelled super-sub, although with Aguero and Carlos Tevez also in attack, and Mario Balotelli not even getting on the bench today, there are not many easy solutions for the Bosnian.
"We can only pick 11 players,'' said Platt. "We have a lot of players who would play in almost any other Premier League team. Edin is one of those players. We felt we needed an injection. We needed a little bit more height to get a platform to hold the ball up.
"We also know he is a goal threat and he is fresh. He has scored lots of goals this season and since he has been here he has scored some heavy goals.''