Blue-turn: Tevez says he's staying with City next season
Published 09:06 30/04/12 By David McDonnell
Carlos Tevez has given Manchester City a boost ahead of tonight's derby showdown by claiming he intends to stay at the club.
Tevez, who went AWOL in his native Argentina for three months earlier this season after a bust-up with City boss Roberto Mancini, says the pair have resolved their differences.
And - crucially - Tevez claimed he and his family are now settled in Manchester, a situation which could see him stay at City next season, despite the belief his return was a short-term measure before he is sold this summer.
Whether Tevez's latest claims are a cynical ploy to win over City fans angry at his perceived disloyalty remains to be seen, but the £35million-rated striker claimed he has had a change of heart and wants to stay.
"I've felt great since I came back in February, very relaxed and content and just pleased to be back playing football for Manchester City again," said Tevez.
"My relationship with the manager is totally fine and there have been absolutely no problems.
"He wants to win games and be successful and if I can play a part in helping to do that, then that's what I will work hard to do.
"Yes, there's been a lot said and written this season but that's in the past.
"Everybody at the club shares the same goal - Roberto, me, the other players and all the staff.
"I'm an ambitious person, I want to work hard and win things with City.
"That's all that matters to me as a player and a person. This club has been building something special for the past few years.
"It was the project and the dream that made me come to City in the first place.
"I've been here since the start of that project and I share the same vision as Sheikh Mansour.
"He has always been brilliant with me and I want to repay his faith and stay here as long as it takes to make the project a success."
Tevez has scored four goals in his last three games and said he wants to continue the process of redemption in the eyes of City fans through his performances on the pitch.
"I prefer to do my talking on the field," he told the MEN. "It's easy to speak off the field, but my message to the fans will be through doing my very, very best for the shirt at this important part of the season, and trying to make sure we go on to win the title.
"I've joked with people that if I did score the winner tonight then perhaps some City fans will stop throwing my shirt away."
As a former United player, Tevez is relishing tonight's derby showdown against his former club and said he is fully focused on helping City win to keep alive their title hopes.
"I am always very focused in my preparation," said Tevez. "It doesn't matter what the game is. If you don't prepare properly off the pitch then there's no way you can perform properly on it.
"There's even more resting on this match, though. It's a final, that's the way you've got to treat it.
"If we beat United then we give ourselves a fantastic opportunity to win the league and that's what this club has been building towards for the last few years.
"It's been a long time since the title came to City, so to beat United and put ourselves in such a strong position would mean so much to me and so much to so many people at the club.
"Does it make it sweeter if we beat United? I don't know, all I do know is that you beat big and powerful clubs then it's a sign of just how far City have come.
"Obviously for the fans more than anything it's important we beat United. Every season it's the game we have to win for them.
"But if we win in the derby and then go on to win the title, I can't imagine how emotional the supporters will be.
"For me, it's a huge game. But it's not about me, it's about the club and certainly the most important game the club has been involved in for many, many years.
"There's a great focus around the club and amongst the players. Nobody thinks about losing.
"We just know what the game means to so many people, people who've been waiting for years and years for the chance to bring this title back to City.
"I don't think about scoring the winning goal, just going out there and giving everything for City.
"All that matters at the moment is the derby, the game where we can take a huge step towards success and the dream everybody at City has had for a long, long time."
Tevez also revealed how he has turned adviser for City's controversial striker Mario Balotelli in a bid to help the wayward 21-year-old become more mature and disciplined.
The idea of Tevez, who left City in the lurch while he sulked in Argentina for three months, advising Balotelli on the way to behave seems absurd in the extreme.
But Tevez said he can help Balotelli change his ways. "He is young and has everything you need to be a great, great player," said Tevez.
"I do talk to him and give him bits of advice here and there on what to do and what not to do.
"When you are young like Mario you do need to be told what to do.
"He does get things wrong from time to time, but that will stop as he gets older.
"But he does have what it takes, and if he takes advice and continues on a good path he will be a great player."'