Despite managing ten minutes on his return from injury against Tottenham, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini doesn’t think he will start Carlos Tevez in the up-coming FA Cup final versus Stoke City on Saturday.
City won the match 1-0 in ironic circumstances as Peter Crouch scored an own-goal at the very same end as he scored last season, only a year ago his goal helped Spurs, rather than their opponents.
Tevez came on with seven minutes to go with his side already in the lead and went on to have a lively cameo, almost setting up Patrick Vieira for a goal that would have sealed the three points.
Before kick-off, many suggested that Tevez being named on the bench against Spurs meant he would be an almost shoo-in to start against Stoke on Saturday in arguably the club’s biggest match in 35 years.
However, Mancini’s post-match comments seem to suggest the opposite, with the Italian appearing non-committal, suggesting he needs more playing time before making first start since playing Liverpool in April.
Speaking after the match, Mancini said: “It was difficult to give him 30 minutes in this game. I don't think he played enough to start in the final.
“It was important he played for 15 minutes. We have four days; I will use all the time to decide.
“I don't think he can be 100 per cent ready. He's only been training for a week and he played 15 minutes. We will see.”
Prior to coming on, the Argentina international seemed frustrated on the bench, often voicing his wish to enter the fray in a somewhat petulant manner, but Mancini is not reading into it.
He added: “I was concentrating on the game. I don't know – I didn't hear anything.”
Tevez aside, the former Inter boss was just relieved to finally have fourth place nailed down and hinting that the performance and result will give his players a confidence boost ahead of the FA Cup final on Saturday.
“Today was important for fourth position,” he said. “The result will probably give us a lift but it will not be easy to prepare a final in four days because Tottenham is a fantastic team.
“I think Saturday will be a very, very hard game. Stoke are a difficult team and it's important we recover in the next few days.
“It will be a big mistake to think it will be easy. If we concentrate and focus, then maybe we can win.”