Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini not bitter over Carlos Tevez absence
Roberto Mancini will not hold Carlos Tevez responsible if Manchester City lose the Premier League title race.
The Italian was sticking rigidly to his public belief the Blues cannot overhaul bitter rivals Manchester United after watching his side dismantle Norwich.
Tevez plundered a hat-trick following his goalscoring midweek display against West Brom on his first away start since the long-running disciplinary saga that saw him return to Argentina for the best part of five months.
Mancini insists Tevez's high profile spat during the Champions League tie at Bayern Munich and the long running repercussions of his alleged refusal not to play are now firmly in the past.
'Everyone can do a mistake but it is important when you apologise to your manager. It is impossible to be perfect. No-one here is perfect. We can all do a mistake,' said Mancini. 'I am not frustrated because it wasn't just one problem. We lost (Sergio) Aguero for two games (at Stoke and Sunderland) for a stupid thing. We lost (Vincent) Kompany for a month. We tried to talk with Carlos in November but now we need to think about the present. It is the first time since 1968 that Manchester City has fought for the title. We did well. We stayed on the top for 28 games. I am proud of my players and what they did.'
Tevez underlined just what the visitors had been missing in a devastating partnership alongside Aguero to help sink the Canaries.
'He scored three goals and Aguero scored two but this is their job. We are happy,' said Mancini. 'I only had Carlos for the last month. He was maybe six months out so we didn't have the chance to play them together. Now he is getting better.
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'He has improved a lot – his attitude and his strength – but he is not 100pc. I am happy with him. He has improved a lot in the last two weeks. For this reason he played the last game against West Brom. Today I was so worried because after 48 hours whether he could play, but Carlos is strange. He can play two games like that in two days. In this moment, yes, they are the best strikers, but we had a problem with Mario (Balotelli). Mario and (Edin) Dzeko have also been important players and scored important goals. When we won 6-1 against Man United, Dzeko scored, Mario scored.'
Mancini felt his side were always in control despite a spirited fightback from Paul Lambert's men just after the interval which saw Andrew Surman halve the deficit.
'I am happy because I felt we did a fantastic performance here,' he said. 'It is not easy because Norwich is in very good form. It was a difficult game but I think I am very pleased with my players. We need to improve for this situation because when you have a chance to win you should be very strong.
'This can help us for the future. (David) Silva and (Samir) Nasri played really well in the first half and we had other chances even though we only scored two goals. Then for ten minutes maybe in the second half Norwich pushed us into our half, but in the end we were fantastic.'
The visitors' impressive win seemingly failed to convince Mancini his men can still fight for the Premier League crown.
'I enjoyed watching my side score six goals but it is impossible. The race is over. This title is finished, unfortunately,' he said, after briefly cutting the gap to two points prior to Manchester United's home win on Sunday against Aston Villa.
'Our target is only to play like this and like West Brom for the last few games. I keep saying it is true because it is five points. It is two now, but United have to play this weekend.
'Now is too late for us. I am happy that we have played really well of late. When we were eight points behind I said we had a chance but only because we were disappointed; only for this reason.
'I hope you are right (that we are still in the race), but for me I don't think this. It is important that we finished this season with more points. Now we need to think about Wolverhampton, the next game.'