Of course, Mancini is always going to be tactical rather than honest in this sort of situation. So we shouldn't take his statements as an honest and incisive analysis of the situation. And yet, there was something in Mancini's relaxed demeanour (even with the Woody Allen glasses) that suggested that the whole situation is not quite as irreconcilable as it might seem.
"If Carlos is unhappy, and he's scored ten goals and played very well, then I hope that he's unhappy like that all season! But I don't think he is really unhappy. He can change his mind.
"Do I want him to stay? Absolutely. He has a contract, and he is our player. It's my belief that Carlos will stay with us, I think that he will continue to play for us."
Ultimately, the longer this goes on the less certain I am about it. The shifting rationales from the Tévez/Joorabchian camp are so fickle and flippant that it undermines the credibility of any case that they make. So much so that I am beginning to doubt just how relevant the home-sickness complaint is. I mean, if all it boiled down to was his craving his daughters' company so deeply that he could not bear to be in Manchester any more, then why not just say that? Football fans are idiots but we're not heartless: I'd like to think that there would be some degree of sympathy on a personal level if he said this.
But it increasingly feels as if even the homesickness, which I always thought was explanation, masked byother excuses, might in fact be a mask itself; the face, in fact, being Joorabchian's relationship with Garry Cook. I'd hate to accuse a father of lying about his relationship with his children but if this is a purely personal matter then why does Tévez not just come out and say exactly that?
Which is a long way of saying that I am increasingly baffled and put off by the whole sordid affair, and I am less confident than ever in any prediction that I might make.