• Premier League

Mancini: Tevez's fitness has nosedived

ESPN staff
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Roberto Mancini: 'Carlos Tevez has slowed down' © Getty Images
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Roberto Mancini has criticised Carlos Tevez for returning to Manchester City out of shape after the international break.

While he is not in his national team at the moment, Tevez went back to his native Argentina earlier this month and Mancini, who had praised the striker for his form and fitness in the opening weeks of the season, believes he is in a poorer condition now.

The former City captain was a surprise omission from the starting line-up for Sunday's 1-1 draw with Arsenal and, after scoring in his first four matches of the campaign, he has failed to find the net in the last four.

"Carlos was better in the first month," said Mancini. "After the international break, he has slowed down. He worked hard in pre-season and did well. He was fantastic for three or four games and he played always. After he went to Argentina for one week, and maybe he lost his condition. After the international break, his condition was so-so."

The City manager also admitted David Silva is not at the top of his game but did not blame the Spaniard after a gruelling summer, when he helped his country retain their crown as European champions.

"He played European Championship, he came back and he did only ten days in pre-season," said Mancini. "After that he went off two times [with Spain], one time in Panama, one time I don't know where and this is impossible.

"I think he is maybe so tired after the European Championship but I am not worried for him because when he is not 100% he is still a good player."

Despite failing to win any of their last four games in all competitions, Mancini is confident his side will win the league again. "I am sure we have a big chance to win the second title," he said.

His reasons include the return to fitness of Sergio Aguero, who was out for a month with a knee injury, while Mancini expects City to overcome the hangover that can afflict champions at the start of the next season.

He added: "We recovered Sergio and he is an important player for us and I am sure now we will start to stop conceding a lot of goals and will score more goals. This can happen the year after you won the title. In the first month or two months, you can have this problem."

Mancini explained injuries and the fixture list accounted for City's comparatively slow start to the campaign. He said: "We have had injuries in this month and we played two difficult games away against Liverpool and Stoke."

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