Soccer

Mancini salutes 'king' Tevez

2011-02-21 08:48
Roberto Mancini (AFP)

Manchester - Roberto Mancini hailed Carlos Tevez's landmark goal as Manchester City reached the FA Cup fifth round with a 5-0 win over League One side Notts County.

City forward Tevez came off the bench to kill off Paul Ince's County with the third goal in Sunday's fourth round replay as Mancini's men booked a tie against Aston Villa next month.

It was Tevez's 50th goal in just 73 appearances for City and continued his remarkable scoring sequence since arriving at Eastlands from Manchester United in 2009.

Mancini has had a strained relationship with Tevez at times but he expects the Argentinian will only get better as City grow stronger.

"It seems as though every time we speak about Carlos!" Mancini said.

"Carlos is a fantastic player, he scores a goal that can change a match. There's no doubt he has a great record.

"But it's not just about him. He has lots of good players surrounding him who create chances for him."

Mancini is under pressure to end City's long wait for silverware.

It has been 35 years since the club last won a major trophy but given the money spent by Mancini, the Italian coach knows his side have to deliver soon.

Europa League success is still very much in their sights. But with the Premier League title slipping away, the FA Cup provides a good opportunity to give the club's Abu Dhabi-based owners something to celebrate.

"I think that FA Cup in England is very important," admitted Mancini, whose side would face Everton or Reading in the last eight if they beat Villa.

"For us, it is important to try to arrive in the final. But when you play every three days it is difficult to always play very well.

"For the first 30 minutes, Notts County played very well for instance.

"It is important when you score, you continue to score more goals. We did that here and must continue that."

Mario Balotelli made his first start this year following a long-term knee problem. Yet despite coming through unscathed, the Italian blotted his copybook by throwing a tantrum in the wake of his second-half substitution.

The 24 million pounds (35 million dollars) striker, who left the field in the 60th minute against the League One side, was seen throwing his neck-warming snood to the floor in frustration as he walked down the tunnel.

But Mancini played down the incident and said: "It was our plan. We decided before the game that he would play only 60 minutes and it's the first game he has played from the start.

"Sure he was unhappy. On Monday I will explain to him, but it is not a problem. We play in four days and then on Sunday and then on Wednesday."

Mancini also revealed that goalkeeper Shay Given, who has played understudy to Joe Hart this season, and the out-of-favour Shaun Wright-Phillips have picked up injuries.

"Shay has a problem in his shoulder, the same he had last year," he added.

"Shaun had a problem with his back and couldn't play. I hope he will be available for Thursday in the Europa League."

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