Fully-committed Tevez 'back to his best' for Manchester City, says Zabaleta

The full-back admitted his team-mate made a "mistake" when refusing to warm-up against Bayern Munich last season, but suggested he deserves credit for his work rate this campaign
Pablo Zabaleta has insisted that Carlos Tevez has returned to top form and is 100 per cent dedicated to Manchester City after his high-profile bust-up last season.

The forward fell out with manager Roberto Mancini when he refused to warm-up in the Champions League group game with Bayern Munich, and was then told he would never play for the club again.

But the 29-year-old has played a big role for City this term, netting nine times in the league including the winner against Aston Villa on Monday, and his fellow Argentine insists credit is due to the striker for coming back into the side.

“It was so difficult for Carlos, for Roberto Mancini and for the club,” the defender told the club's official website.

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"From something very small, it grew so big. It's done now, though and what happened won't happen again.

"After that night, everything went crazy and it was so difficult for everyone. Everybody makes mistakes and the positive thing is Carlos came back again and his commitment for the club and team has been 100%, so full credit to him for that.

“He is back to his best and he scored a fantastic goal against Chelsea and I think he's been great all season. His work-rate is fantastic.

"When Mario was here we had four top strikers and it was difficult for them to play every game. But now we have Edin [Dzeko], Sergio [Aguero], Carlos and they're all doing well and playing more games.”

Mancini's men have suffered a disappointing campaign so far this season, falling 12 points behind Manchester United in the league and exiting the Champions League at the group stages.

The right-back admitted that the team have failed to win enough games and should be in a better position, but didn't rule out a late surge for the title.

“As for this season, it goes without saying that we wanted to have a closer gap than 12 points," the 28-year-old added. "We have the FA Cup to go for as well, but obviously, when you look at the team you expect us to do better.

"We’ve dropped too many points this season in games that we know we had to win if we want to win the title.

"So we need to learn from our mistakes but we are still learning and need to just carry on. Good teams need to keep winning, it is still 10 games to the end so we’ll see."