Birmingham, United Kingdom – Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has backed Carlos Tevez to play a starring role for the Premier League champions after his stunning strike inspired a 3-2 win over Chelsea in the Community Shield.
Tevez was in vibrant form at Villa Park on Sunday as the Argentine forward provided a glimpse of the talent that City missed for much of last season during a self-imposed exile that followed his touchline row with Mancini at Bayern Munich.
The former Manchester United star returned late in the season to help City clinch their first English title for 44 years, but Mancini believes Tevez will be much fitter and more motivated this season.
He put City ahead with a blistering second half shot after Yaya Toure had cancelled out Fernando Torres's first half opener for Chelsea.
Samir Nasri bagged City's third and Ryan Bertrand's late consolation couldn't stop Mancini's men warming up for their title defence with their first Community Shield win since 1972.
But it was the form of Tevez that most pleased Mancini ahead of next weekend's Premier League opener against Southampton.
“I'm very happy,” said Mancini. “Carlos worked very well. His form is better than last year. He wants to play football.
“With foreign players it's difficult. He didn't play last year for six months. If he wants to play, he's going to be top.
“Having Carlos for the last 10 games (of last season) was important. But he is now 100 per cent. This is the first time in four years we have him fit.”
Mancini also confirmed that England midfielder Jack Rodwell will complete a move from Everton after undergoing a medical, and then suggested he expects the club to add to their first summer signing.
“Jack is having a medical at the moment,” he said. “He's young, it will be different for him but he will be a strong midfielder in a couple of years.
“He's a player that needs to improve but he's young. We are interested in all good players.
“We will see if we have new signings. We are looking for other players. I'm waiting to see.
“Every manager is unhappy if one week before the season we had not got any players, but I hope we're working and this week or 10 days we should have more players in.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo conceded Branislav Ivanovic's red card two minutes after Torres had given his side a 40th minute lead was the turning point.
“The sending off probably changed the game,” he said. “We competed very well up to that point. The second half was difficult. It's difficult playing with 10 men.
“I watched the sending off, I felt there was no intention from our player. Sometimes red cards are given and sometimes they are not (in that situation).
“It was a competitive game and the nature of that was that people were trying to win the game. Both sides were very determined.”
Mancini played down his side's chances of retaining the Premier League title last week, but Di Matteo believes they deserve to be favourites following this game.
“City are the team to beat absolutely, they are the champions,” he said.
“We have to catch up 25 points from last season. They are the favourites, it's no doubt about it. United are chasing City as well.”
Di Matteo also praised the performances of Torres and new signing Eden Hazard and he believes they will be pivotal players if Chelsea are to cope with the loss of Didier Drogba, who moved to China after playing major roles in the club's Champions League and FA Cup final victories.
“Hazard was lively, he handed out some problems,” he added. “He was finding his feet with Ashley Cole and his other team-mates.
“Torres moved very well today, he was a danger and worked hard for the team. It was his first 90 minutes after being back in training for less than three weeks.” – Sapa-AFP