Tevez can save us claims City's Richards
Published 22:31 12/03/12 By John Cross
Micah Richards has admitted he would “love” for Carlos Tevez to be given the chance to save Manchester City’s title hopes.
Tevez has not played for City since September, after going AWOL following a fall-out with Roberto Mancini.
But the Argentina star has now apologised, is back in training and could be in line for a first-team return against Chelsea on Wednesday week, as City look to get their title challenge back on track.
They lost top spot to Manchester United for the first time since October as a result of their 1-0 at Swansea on Sunday, and Richards believes Tevez could have made all the difference.
The England full-back claims there is a vital role for Tevez in City’s title push, and insists he would be welcomed back into the team.
Richards said: “I’ve always been a big fan of Tevez - every time I’ve been asked I’ve always said that I love him.
“There were games last season when he carried us on his own. There were games last season like the one we had at Swansea where he would get a 1-0 win for us.
“Ultimately, it’s up to the manager, but I’d love to see him back.”
Despite all of City’s wealth and firepower, they have frittered away a seven point lead on United to fall one point behind and leave questions about whether they have got the mentality and staying power.
It could all come down to the Manchester derby showdown at Eastlands on Monday April 30, when City and United look set to go head-to-head with a lot more at stake than just local pride.
Richards believes Tevez can help City rediscover their early-season, free-scoring form, but also insists they have got the mentality needed to win titles.
Tevez and fellow defender Kolo Toure - from their days at Manchester United and Arsenal respectively - are the only members of the City squad with a Premier League title on their CV, and that could be decisive.
Richards said: “That’s the most disappointing thing - having been first for so long, we’ve now slipped down to second.
"It’s not over, but with United it’s always going to be hard to pip them.
“The game at our place - this result has made that game even more massive now. There will be some banter and fun between the fans, but we have to concentrate on what we’re doing.
“Chelsea is the next game and that will be tough. But [that game] is at home, where we’re strong. We’ve got strengths and it’s a game that we have to win now.
“Like I said, it’s disappointing to be back in second now, but we won’t give up until the end of the season. We have to focus on what we want to do.
“We’ve got the mental strength. Everyone was saying last year when we got to the FA Cup Final that we wouldn’t win it, [that] it would be 20 years before we won a trophy and yet we did it. I still think we can do it again.
“We need to go back and see where we’re going wrong - why we’re not scoring as many goals as we used to.
“Teams seem to be defending better against us. We were scoring four, fives and sixes and now we’ve gone through a spell where we have been struggling to score.
"We’ll be looking to improve on in the next couple of games.”
Richards has refused to blame the demands of the Europa League on City’s blip, but says it will need some soul-searching among the squad this week.
He added: “We just didn’t turn up at Swansea, didn’t work hard, didn’t play our usual football. There’s no excuses.
“That’s our second loss in four days and we need to go back to the drawing board, because it’s just not good enough.
“I don’t put it down to one thing.
"We’re the same players.
"We’re missing some key players - Vincent Kompany, our captain, Joleon Lescott has got a little knock as well - and they are big players for us at the back.
“I can’t put a finger on it, but it’s just not good enough.
"It’s hard having those two fixtures with the Europa League as well but we’re just not getting the results at the moment.”