x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Tevez situation will not help Manchester City

Most players leave a club because they fall out with other players or the manager, but there seems to be more to the Tevez situation.

Manchester City's Carlos Tevez, left, returned to training with the club following a short break in Spain. The Argentine had a transfer request rejected by City earlier this week.
Manchester City's Carlos Tevez, left, returned to training with the club following a short break in Spain. The Argentine had a transfer request rejected by City earlier this week.

Tevez situation cannot help a Manchester City side with aspirations of winning the league while neighbours look strong

I was speaking to my old boss Kevin Keegan about Manchester City the other day.

I played for Newcastle United and City; he managed Newcastle and City. We had our moments, but I like Keegan. And, given the number of goals I scored for him, I hope he likes me.

We live near each other and while we get on, I do not always agree with him, like this week when he said: "Coley, I'm telling you, Man City will win the league this season."

I wasn't having it.

"Look at their next four fixtures," Keegan said. "And then look at United's, Chelsea's and Arsenal's."

So I did. City play Everton at home, Newcastle away, Aston Villa and Blackpool at home. They would expect to do well in those.

United or Chelsea have to drop points because they meet on Sunday.

I can see where Keegan is coming from and City have been getting some good results recently, but I still do not think they have enough to win the league.

I spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson, my old Manchester United manager, about City and neither of us could believe how defensive they seemed to be in the Manchester derby, even with five minutes to play.

They were the home team but it looked like they were scared of United.

I do not think City are scoring enough goals and they seem too reliant on Carlos Tevez.

But we've seen the Tevez argument blow up this week. I do not really know him as a person. I've said hello to him a few times and he seemed fine.

I judge him as a footballer and I consider him a great player who works his socks off.

His work rate is as good as Wayne Rooney's and Tevez reminds me of Ian Rush, the former Liverpool striker, in that he closes defenders down so quickly.

He deceives defenders into thinking that they have got more time on the ball than they have. Tevez makes clever runs where he goes behind defenders.

Defenders hate running back to their own goals and they hate pace.

Tevez causes them problems on both those counts and he is also a tough player who is almost impossible to knock off the ball.

When he was at United my only criticism of him was that he did not score enough goals. He does now.

City would miss him badly if he left. Most players leave a club because they fall out with other players or the manager, but there seems to be more to this.

I do not think it is about money, but about an argument between his agent and club executives.

In my playing career I found that the best executives were the ones you barely knew existed, the ones who would rather not do interviews.

On the football side Tevez could have issues with Roberto Mancini, the City manager.

I speak to a lot of the City players and some of them shake their head when Mancini is mentioned.

Everyone has a different opinion in football and they are usually based on how that individual has affected them.

You also get a lot of personal issues in football, grudges and personal agendas.

A manager has to be tough and make tough decisions, but he can be respected too and I don't sense that from the people I have spoken to.

The current situation does not help City's cause. Nor does Chelsea's.

I don't see that dismissed assistant manager Ray Wilkins should be a huge loss, but manager Carlo Ancelotti does not look like he's enjoying life at Stamford Bridge. That's because of boardroom interference.

Arsenal and United have an advantage because Arsene Wenger and Ferguson have control of the football side.

They make decisions and while they will always face challenges, like Sir Alex faced with Rooney recently, the manager is secure in his position.

Sir Alex faces his toughest test so far this Sunday when he takes his side to Stamford Bridge.

United have not won there for nine seasons - since when I played for the club. That surprises me because Chelsea away was never a problem for us.

I played against Chelsea 16 times for United - more than against any other club. I scored five goals, three of them in FA Cup games.

I loved playing against them, partly because we usually won, though Chelsea are far stronger now. United are still unbeaten in the league and I think they will remain unbeaten.

And I'll be watching from Abu Dhabi as I'm here for a week for work, enjoying the sun as my family shiver in Manchester. And hopefully United won't freeze at the Bridge, either.

 

sports@thenational.ae