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.
However, 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 apologized for his behavior during his refusal to play for the team over a dispute with Mancini which dates back to September last year, when he disobeyed his manager’s instruction to warm-up during a Champions League defeat away to Bayern Munich.
The Italian boss was scheduled to meet his player before training yesterday and expects him to be available for selection in the middle of next month.
“He has apologized,” Mancini said. “I don’t have any problem. Tomorrow [yesterday], I will meet him before training, after that, he can start to work with us.”
“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,” he said.
City’s comfortable victory over last season’s Europa League winners has left them as one of the favorites to claim the trophy this year and, with Mancini’s team still occupying first place in the Premier League, a league and cup double is possible.
Meanwhile, the presence of former manager Andre Villas-Boas at Eastlands failed to inspire holders Porto as Manchester City eased into the last 16 of the Europa League with a 4-0 second-leg win on Wednesday.
Goals from Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, David Silva and David Pizarro — the last three in the space of nine minutes — ensured a comfortable evening for City.
The goal rush came against a Porto side who played the final 14 minutes with 10 men, after the sending off of defender Rolando for a second yellow card.
“We played a good game,” City manager Roberto Mancini said.
“Maybe 4-0 was too much, but it was important we went into the second stage,” the Italian added, looking to become the first City boss in 42 years to bring a major European trophy to the club.
Premier League leaders City took just 19 seconds to extend their first-leg advantage, when Aguero grabbed the quickest goal in the Europa League this season.
Defender Nicolas Otamendi lost the ball around the halfway line and Nigel de Jong found Yaya Toure, whose pass sent Aguero racing clear of the Porto backline.
He took his chance brilliantly with a clinical finish into the bottom left-hand corner.
Porto responded gamely as Joao Moutinho volleyed wide, Silvestre Varela headed at Joe Hart and defender Maicon ended a marauding right-wing run with a wayward center across goal.
City again came close with Silva’s through ball forcing goalkeeper Helton to race from his area to try to intercept Aguero. The City forward skillfully rounded the goalkeeper, but his shot from the edge of the area struck the Porto crossbar.
Mancini’s team were content to withstand the modest pressure from Porto and play on the counter-attack.