Tevez return could spark title bid says Silva

Last updated : 24 February 2012 By AFP

City host relegation-threatened Rovers with the opportunity to move five points clear of Premier League champions United, who travel to Norwich on Sunday.

Roberto Mancini's team are top of the table despite being without Tevez for five months.

The Argentina forward, 28, fell out with Mancini after refusing to come off the bench in the 2-0 defeat at Bayern Munich in September and subsequently returned to Argentina without permission in November.

But, having returned to Manchester last week, he has apologised to Mancini and will be available for selection again once he can prove his fitness.

Mancini has only had Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko to pick from for much of the season.

Aguero has scored 20 goals in his first season in English football, Dzeko has chipped in with 17 and Balotelli has also contributed 12.

But Spain midfielder Silva feels that having four top forwards for the run-in could give City an advantage.

"It is very important to have those four great strikers with us," Silva said.

"It makes it easier for the people playing behind them. We all know they are great players and it could be an important factor to help us win the title race.

"Carlos has shown before he has great character and determination, and for someone like him it would be easier to get into form than for others.

"Carlos is a great player, and if he is physically fit he would be a very good player to have. But it will be down to the coaches and the technical team to decide who plays and who doesn't.

"Aguero is a great player. There is not much more you can say about him. He is just fantastic."

City face United in the third last Premier League game of the season as they look for a first league title since 1968.

United have fought hard to keep pace with their neighbours and Silva expects the race for the title to go the distance.

"If we get to that match on the same number of points then it could be decisive, but we have to get there first, we have to win every match," he said.

"To win the Premier League would be an incredible thing to achieve with Manchester City, and for the people of Manchester after so many years."

Mancini could give Yaya Toure and Kolo Toure, who have been away for the African Nations Cup with Ivory Coast, first Premier League appearances since the start of January.

And other than Tevez and Owen Hargreaves, who are both short of fitness, he has a fully-fit squad to select from.

While City faced a two-legged Europa League tie against Porto, Blackburn have had two weeks off since their 3-2 win over QPR due to their exit from the FA Cup.

That victory moved Steve Kean's side out of the relegation zone but midfielder Morten Gamst Pedersen accepts that the battle to avoid relegation to the Championship has plenty of distance left to run.

Pedersen, who thinks United will win the title, feels his team have to build a buffer to the bottom three, with a trip to Chelsea looming on the final day in May.

"I said before the season starts it would be between United and City and it's tight," Pedersen said. "It will be tough but I'm more red than blue.

"It will be very tough and I hope we can get things sorted before the last game away at Chelsea.

"We've got some important games coming up and were scoring goals, if we can touch up a bit at the back, everyone wants to stay in the Premier League.

"It's a tough game against City and if we can get away with something it will be a good bonus for us."

Chris Samba, who failed in his attempts to earn a move away from Ewood Park in January, may come into contention for the game at Eastlands and Kean has no other injury worries.

Source: AFP

Source: AFP