Carlos Tevez will be blamed if Manchester City lose Premier League title – Micah Richards

Carlos Tevez will be competing for a place in the Manchester City attack

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Manchester City defender Micah Richards has conceded that Carlos Tevez will be blamed if Roberto Mancini’s side fail to win the Premier League title.

Tevez is set to return to action for the league leaders in “two or three weeks” – once he has regained match fitness – after apologising to Mancini for a spat that saw the striker go AWOL from the club for a number of months.

The Argentine is likely to face a hostile reception from his own fans when he finally resumes his playing duties, and Richards – who has always welcomed Tevez’s potential return – admits things could get even worse for Tevez if City go on to lose the title.

“If he can get his head down and we end up winning the Premier League and he plays a massive part in that, I am sure everyone will forgive him,” Richards said. “If he doesn’t, it could be the opposite.

“It is mixed feelings [for fans] really, but as a player I am happy to have him back because he is an outstanding player.”

While fans are unlikely to quickly forgive the former Manchester United striker for his disappearing act, Richards was keen to acknowledge what a big influence Tevez was on last season’s FA Cup winning side – noting that if he can rebuild trust with everyone around the club those qualities could prove invaluable over the remainder of the campaign.

“Tevez was outstanding last season. He was inspirational,” Richards added. “He was our captain and a leader. He was unbelievable on the ball but also off it, he worked so hard.

“He is a nightmare to play against and to have that in the team would be really good for us.”

Before he can resume that role he will have to usurp Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli in the attacking pecking order – no mean feat considering all three have scored goals on a regular basis this season.

Richards does not expect Tevez’s return to cause any unrest with those players, however.

“I am sure the other strikers will be thinking we have done well until this point,” he said.”I am sure they will sort it out but it is a massive boost. He is still a quality player. He is just lacking fitness. Games are all he needs now.”

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