Tevez dispute over
Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, has drawn a line under his long-running dispute with Carlos Tevez and insisted the Argentina striker is now available for selection.
But Mancini, talking after his team reached the last 16 of the Europa League with an emphatic 4-0 victory over holders Porto, warned Tevez he faces a major obstacle in attempting to regain a regular place in his side.
This week, Tevez apologised for his behaviour during his refusal to play for the team over a dispute with Mancini which dates back to September, when he disobeyed his manager's instruction to warm-up during a Champions League defeat away to Bayern Munich. The Italian boss will meet his player before training on Thursday and expects him to be available for selection in the middle of next month.
"He has apologised," said Mancini. "I don't have any problem. Tomorrow, I will meet him before training, after that, he can start to work with us.
"I think he maybe needs two or three weeks to find form; after this he will be okay. He can play, like the other players," he added with City two points clear of Manchester United at the top of the Premier League.
"Carlo (Carlos) knows the team very well but the team, in the last six or seven months, has played very well. They are top of the Premier League.
"We know Carlo well, he's a top striker so it would be good to have him back, I think he can help us and do a good job in the next two months.
"I think it is important if we have Carlo, Mario (Balotelli), Edin (Dzeko) and Sergio (Aguero) so it would be good for the team."
With Tevez still absent from the City line-up, his compatriot Aguero was the pick of the hosts' stars at Eastlands here on Wednesday, scoring the opening goal in just 19 seconds then laying on a second for Dzeko before David Silva and David Pizarro completed the rout and a 6-1 aggregate win for City.
Mancini had spoken at the start of the season about wanting to have four front-line strikers at his disposal for the campaign and now, with Tevez's return, he appears to be in that position.
"Carlo cannot play in the Europa League," said Mancini. "But having four strikers for the Premier League would be good.
Mancini refused to get into an argument with Argentina great Diego Maradona, Aguero's father-in-law, who had said City were too defensive.
"Diego was a fantastic player, one of the best in the world," said Mancini before refusing to elaborate.
However, Maradona's son-in-law certainly looks like one of Europe's leading footballers on current form and Mancini added: "Sergio is another top striker but he is young and still needs to improve.
"He's a top striker, he's scored a lot of goals and helped us in this game and during the season. Now, over the last two months, it's important to have all the players, all the strikers, available."
City's comfortable victory over last season's Europa League winners has left them as one of the favourites to claim the trophy in 2012 and, with Mancini's team still occupying first place in the Premier League, a league and cup double is possible.