Striking returns: Carlos Tevez and Andy Carroll come good
'Everyone can make a mistake' says Mancini, full of forgiveness as Argentine scores a hat-trick
BORN-AGAIN Sky Blue Carlos Tevez scored a hat-trick yesterdat as Manchester City put six past Norwich to move within two points of Manchester United at the top of the table. It was a superb display from Tevez, making his first start for City since the infamous row with Roberto Mancini last September.
At the time, the City boss vowed the Argentine was "finished" but Mancini was in a more forgiving mood following the 6-1 thrashing of Norwich. "Everyone can make a mistake," said Mancini of Tevez. "It is important that when you apologise your manager forgives you."
Asked if he rued the absence of Tevez these last few weeks, a period in which a slump of form has seen City cede a five-point lead at the top of the table to United, Mancini replied: "I'm not frustrated. Tevez is not the only player who has been out. We have also been without Sergio Aguero for two games for stupid things, Vincent Kompany was out for a month with injury and Joleon Lescott too for four weeks."
Mancini, clearly fed up with talking about Tevez, concluded: "It is all in the past now and we must think about the present."
So, City are once more breathing down United's neck but with the reigning champions hosting Aston Villa today the lead could be back to five points by the end of the day. Nonetheless City's rampant display will increase the pressure on United, who lost to Wigan in midweek and need a win to get back on track.
Tevez scored his and City's first on 18 minutes and added two more in the second half as Sergio Aguero joined in the fun with a brace of goals. Andrew Surmanv struck for the hosts six minutes after the break but Adam Johnson had the last say for City with a goal on the stroke of full-time.
In the day's other results Blackburn dropped further into the relegation mire following a 3-0 defeat away at Swansea, while bottom-place Wolves picked up a point in a goalless draw at Sunderland but remain five points adrift of Blackburn. QPR's 1-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion leaves them in 16th, two places above the drop zone.
Meanwhile, in the FA Cup a late goal from Andy Carroll saw Liverpool beat Everton 2-1 to reach next month's final where they'll play the winner of this afternoon's other semi-final between Tottenham and Chelsea.
Nikica Jelavic gave the Toffees the lead midway through the first half before Luis Suarez equalised for the Reds on 62 minutes following a poor back-pass from Everton defender Sylvain Distin to Tim Howard. The winner came three minutes from time when Carroll outjumped the Everton defence to flick Craig Bellamy's free-kick past Howard.
The result was a much-needed boost for Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish following Thursday's sacking of Damien Comolli, the club's director of football, and the Scot later praised the spirit of his players.
"When there is a wee bit of mud flying about that is when you stand up to be counted," said Dalglish. "Big Andy scored the winning goal and he has been battered. In fact we have all been. Maybe that's one of the things to get us going, so carry on and batter us."