It's a surprise and a disappointment to see this bubbling up into the public sphere. I had hoped that Tévez's infamous Daily Mail interview was an aberration, a mistake, but it looks as if Tévez was being honest - he does seem to dislike Mancini's methods which, from the perspective of an outsider like me, do not sound too unreasonable. But then we cannot get too precious about the fact that Tévez is a prickly character. If he wasn't bolshie, stubborn and pointedly candid he would still be a very effective squad player at Manchester United. It's those qualities which drove him to City and so the fact that they still make up a big part of Tévez's character should not be a surprise.
Asked if he thought Tevez might be unhappy, Mancini replied: "I don't know. Tevez has four years left on his contract. But I don't know. If he's not happy, it would be better [for him] to change squads. If a top player is not happy to stay here, then it's better for him to go to another team...
"I've spoken to Tevez. What we said was private but I did remind him that there had been only one time when he had to train twice in a day.We have trained twice four times in the five months I have been here. On two of those times Carlos was in Argentina and one time he was here but didn't train. So I don't know why [he's unhappy]. When we don't have a midweek game I always train two times on Tuesday because it's the only way I know."
But this reveals more about Mancini than it does about Tévez. The fact that Mancini has gone public with this, and put down our star man and Player of the Season-elect is important. I think it's the latest data point in a recent trend: Mancini's desire to cultivate and project managerial authority. With the exception of cash, managerial authority is the most important currency at any football club. It's a necessary part of any successful team. We certainly won't win anything without it. And Mancini arrived with none at all.
He was brought in to replace a popular manager, who had bought almost every member of the squad. He had no time to bring in his own players, and when he did only signed Patrick Vieira. He was likely to leave in the summer if we failed to come fourth, an open secret in football. It's hard to come up with a set of circumstances less conducive to an authoritative manager. And Mancini knew this. He also knew that if he was to have any success at City he would have to fight it, and show that he was boss. Hence the famous substitution of Robinho at Goodison, and shipping him back to Santos. Hence ordering Tévez home from Buenos Aires. Hence telling Wright-Phillips to keep quiet about his contract. Hence (temporarily) dropping Kolo Touré. Hence falling out with Craig Bellamy.
It might be ugly, and it might even cost us a good player or two, but Mancini has to show that he is in charge. Mark Hughes went through precisely the same process eighteen months ago, I called it 'Sparkyisation.' And I'm entirely supportive of it. We can't expect to do anything without a clear sense of managerial authority. Unfortunately, we're not a club that is well geared to that. With our demanding owners, our public and influential CEO and Football Administration Officer, our big stars on big contracts we have serious obstacles in the way. Cultivating managerial authority at City isn't easy. But someone's got to do it. Mancini's approach is absolutely necessary.