Tevez returning only makes Mancini look weakIt probably won't surprise you to hear that I agree with Sir Alex Ferguson's comments about Manchester City bringing Carlos Tevez back into the fold for the title run-in.
Ferguson has responded to Patrick Vieira's claims earlier in the week — when he said that Manchester United bringing Paul Scholes out of retirement seemed like a desperate move — by saying that letting Tevez back into the first team was even more desperate. He was just saying what everyone else was thinking.
While Vieira may have had a point about United recalling a player in his late 30s after they were unable to find or attract a younger replacement, there is a huge difference between that and City allowing Tevez to return.
Roberto Mancini was emphatic in his condemnation of the Argentina striker when he refused to get off the bench during that game at Bayern Munich last October. Mancini repeated on several occasions that Tevez would never play for the club again and his stance earned praise from many of his contemporaries at other clubs, including Ferguson.
To go back on those words now, just because City's form has suffered of late, smacks of hypocrisy. Mancini has damaged the integrity of himself and his club. It's embarrassing for everyone involved.
Just as in any walk of life, a football manager's ability to do their job relies heavily on those around him having respect and trust in him. You make a decision and you stick to it, especially one as big as the suspension of Tevez. That is how you earn respect. People may not necessarily agree with your choice, but if you follow through on your words and are consistent in your treatment of certain situations then at least everyone knows where they stand.
In my opinion, City would be better off sticking to their guns on Tevez and missing out on the title rather than him returning to help them win it for the first time in 44 years. Should that happen, then Tevez will be hailed for his contribution and at least partially absolved for his shocking behaviour, but Mancini's position will be weakened next time the striker, or indeed another player, decides to act up.
If any of City's other stars decide they are unhappy at the amount of minutes on the pitch they are getting, they know they can throw a similar strop and get to enjoy a few months off before being brought back. The precedent has now been set.
The saddest thing of all for me is that, as a player, I am a huge fan of Tevez. For all of the other big-money signings that have been brought in under Mancini and Mark Hughes before him, none have been as vital in getting City to where they are now as their former captain.
He was the driving force behind their excellent campaign last season, and at times it seems like they have missed his energy and dynamism this year.
But, in spite of that, City should have stuck to their guns and moved on.