Mancini opens the door for Tevez return

    Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini (L) and Carlos Tevez have endured a fractious relationship.

    Story highlights

    • Carlos Tevez could be set to return to the first-team fold at Manchester City
    • Tevez has not played since refusing to warm up as a substitute in September
    • City manager Roberto Mancini said Tevez would have to apologize before playing again
    • Tevez says on Argentinian television he is not to blame for spat and wants to return
    It has been a relationship fraught with tension and disagreements, but with Valentine's Day around the corner, it appears Carlos Tevez and Manchester City might be prepared to kiss and make up.
    The Argentina striker has been frozen out of the first team picture at City since refusing to warm up as a substitute during a European Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich in Germany back in September.
    Tevez has since been hit with a massive fine and was widely expected to leave the English Premier League leaders in January, but a move failed to materialize despite interest from Italian giants AC and Inter Milan.
    City manager Roberto Mancini has now hinted he may be prepared to forgive Tevez, who captained the team to a first trophy in 35 years last season, in a bid to bolster the club's chances of clinching their first top division title since 1968.
    Tevez also said he wanted to play for City again in an interview on Argentinian television but risked further tension by laying the blame for the argument at Mancini and City's doorstep.
    "Everyone knows that Tevez is a top player and it probably would have been better for us if he'd been here," Mancini told a press conference prior to Sunday's 1-0 win away at Aston Villa, which saw them return to the top of the table.
    "I don't have any problem and the club doesn't have any problem. Finish. It's up to him. Carlos knows everything, he knows the situation.
    "I spoke with Carlos one week after Munich ... We are here. We've not changed these past few months and Carlos knows that. He is a City player."
    But Mancini made it clear Tevez, who is reportedly due to return to Manchester from Argentina this week, would have to apologize before he would get the opportunity to add to the 43 goals he has scored for the club since joining in 2009.
    "This is normal," the former Inter coach said. "Then after Carlos can train, can play, as long as his condition is good. If he comes back, we are happy."
    But in an interview with Fox Sports Latin America, Tevez rejected he was to blame for the breakdown in relations.
    "If I was wrong, I say sorry. I sincerely believe I did not make a mistake," he said. "If it's true that Mancini said he will welcome me back if I'm fit, then I like those quotes. But if he only said it for the media, no.
    "But he also said I was never going to be playing for him again. So I don't know. I'll do my best to be available and play."
    Tevez has been on a collision course with City's hierarchy for over 12 months, having initially handed in a transfer request in December 2010.
    The one-time West Ham and Manchester United star then saw a return to former club Santos collapse in July. Tevez has not played for the Citizens since a domestic cup win against second-tier Birmingham City in September.
    Tevez also revealed he and Mancini nearly came to blows after a Premier League match last season and said that City could have handled the Bayern incident differently.
    Mancini said he was unsure what condition Tevez would be in upon his return, but said the 28-year-old has the talent to be an asset to City in the closing months of the season.
    "I don't know if he is in good condition or not," Mancini said. "I don't think so because he hasn't played for four months. But Carlos recovers strength very quickly.
    "Carlos can change a lot of games. If he comes back next week, maybe he can help us in the last three months."