In Brief

Tevez his back at City, but Mancini says he’s ‘finished’

Argentine striker denies refusing to play against Bayern, but club and pundits put the boot in

Carlos Tevez Roberto Mancini

WHAT really happened between Carlos Tevez and Roberto Mancini at Bayern Munich? As the dust settles on an extraordinary night for Manchester City it seems there may be more to the spat than meets the eye.

Initial reports suggested that Tevez had simply refused to play for Manchester City after being told he was coming on as a substitute. And his actions prompted a furious reaction from the City management, not to mention the fans and football commentators, who branded the Argentine striker a "disgrace", a "joke", a "coward", and "bang out of order".

But perhaps all is not as it seems after Tevez issued a statement dismissing the rumpus as a "misunderstanding". He said that he was not prepared to discuss the specifics of what happened in the dugout, but he stated: "I never refused to play.

"There was some confusion on the bench and I believe my position may have been misunderstood. Going forward I am ready to play when required and to fulfil my obligations."

It is something of a turnaround from a player who has made it clear for months that he does not want to be at Manchester City and hates England. But whether that will be enough to placate his usually urbane manager, Mancini, who looked ready to kill after the match remains to be seen.

Already smarting from City's 2-0 defeat at the hands of Bayern, the Italian let Tevez have it with both barrels, announcing that he was "finished" at the club.

"Can you imagine a Bayern Munich, Milan or Man Utd player doing this?" he asked. "For me he can't play, never... If we want to improve as a team and a squad then Carlos can't play with us. With me he is finished."

He professed to have no idea why Tevez acted in the way he did but accepted that it could have been because the Argentine was annoyed not to have gone on earlier, when Mancini made the first of his changes.

A clearly riled Mancini also had to deal with another stroppy striker after Edin Dzeko reacted badly to being replaced during the second half of a poor City display. He stormed off after being withdrawn, but Mancini was clearly in no mood for more histrionics.

"[Dzeko] had a poor game. In terms of being unhappy, it should be me, not him. This is the last time with me a player will do this."

The reaction to Tevez's actions was even more extreme among fans and pundits, as Twitter was flooded with messages laying into the Argentine for his apparent act of subordination.

Sky's Graeme Souness even became a trending topic on the social networking site in the aftermath of the incident as fans applauded  his forthright assessment of the situation.

"He's a disgrace to football," said Souness. "He epitomises what most people think is wrong with modern football. It is totally unacceptable. He's a football player and he is paid to play. He is refusing to help his team-mates. It's all about him, him, him."

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