Tevez has revived City
Joe Hart has paid tribute to ‘awesome’ Carlos Tevez for breathing new life into Manchester City’s title charge.
Roberto Mancini’s men looked to be down and out until their former skipper was restored to the starting line-up against West Brom.
Since then he has scored four times in two matches to help slash Manchester United’s lead at the top of the table to five points.
And the Tevez-effect was particularly noticeable last Saturday at Norwich when City struck six — one more than they had managed in their previous 10 away league matches put together.
And Hart says the Argentine hitman has come back into the reckoning at just the right time to give the side a much-needed lift.
Hart said: “We have been a bit dry on goals recently, so that fresh Carlos input has been awesome.
“You can say what you want about Carlos but when he plays, he plays to win and he plays for his team-mates.
“You don’t get any attitude. On the field he’s going to give you all he’s got, try to score goals. It’s great to have him.
“We have some quality forwards here and it feels like one in one out with Carlos coming in and Mario suspended.”
Tevez went AWOL to Argentina for three months in the aftermath of his refusal to play against Bayern Munich in September.
But Hart says that is all in the past and believes Tevez is fully focused on doing as well as he can over the final four games.
He said: “There are far more important things in our lives than what went on and what didn’t go on.
“We have that goal of trying to win the league and Carlos has bought into that. He has not come in and tried to make any big statements. We have just all moved on.”
Since the defeat at Arsenal on April 8, Mancini has been insisting his team’s chances of pegging back United are finished.
But Hart insists the squad are not thinking like that and feels that the Italian is indulging in a few mind games as the season reaches its exciting conclusion. United surprisingly lost at struggling Wigan last week, so Hart expects more twists to come.
He said: “When teams have things to play for you can never predict what might happen.
“Wigan are a good side, they’re all tough games. The mood was positive when we heard, of course. But there’s still games to play, we’ve still got to play them.
“The season is alive. Even if, God forbid, we were already out of it we would still be fighting.”
City go to Wolves on Sunday and will kick off just an hour or so after United’s home clash with Everton finishes. Then the two neighbours will go head-to-head at the Etihad next Monday for what is being billed as the title decider.
And Hart and his team-mates have a brilliant record at home. He said: We held our hands up against Sunderland but they’re the only points we’ve dropped at home, we’ve won every other game — it happens. We’ve just got to keep winning.
“There is no point in us turning up on Sunday if the title race is over. We’ve still got to believe — we have still got to fight for every single point available.
“I don’t think the boss means that the season is over. I think he is just trying to play it down a little bit and let us get on with what we need to do.
“There is no way any of us would give up until it is mathematically impossible.”
England keeper Hart, 25, still believes if City can win their final four matches — and finish up with 89 points — it would take some topping by United.”
He added: “In the same way that United never gave up chasing us, we’ll never give up either. Never.
“If we can get 89 points it would take some beating.
“We can only do what we can do now and we’ll see where that takes us.
“But Wolves are scrapping for their lives again. So let’s get them out of the way and then see where we are. The manager’s message is keep playing, keep winning.
“He told us before the game against West Brom that three games without a win is not acceptable. We feel that as players.
“One game without a win is not acceptable to us, let alone three.
“Our underlying feeling is that we need to win.
“Our supporters pay a lot of money to come and see us and we owe them results.” - www.thesun.co.uk