The return of Carlos Tevez has given the Blues the perfect boost for the crucial season run-in, according to team-mate Gareth Barry who reckons the Argentinian is worth his weight in gold.
The England midfielder, who was hugely impressive in the 4-2 win at Chelsea, says Tevez gives City a vital extra edge and his return at the weekend was perfectly timed.
“We knew how much we were missing him, as well as the fans,” said Barry. “He gives us such work-rate and a never-say-die spirit, and for me, his equalising goal summed up his game.
“He has the potential to be in the Rooney and Drogba class. His goals this season, and the way he has sometimes led the line on his own, have been brilliant, so why not?”
Barry was particularly impressed by Tevez’s ability to irritate opposing teams by never giving them an inch and fighting for every seemingly last cause for the team.
He managed to get under Chelsea’s skin to the point one of their most experienced players decided to exact his own kind of retribution – and earned himself a red card in the process.
“Once they went 2-1 down and down to ten men, they were always going to be chasing the game.
“That’s when you can lose your head, so it was important we stayed strong. Then Michael Ballack made a tackle he wouldn’t normally make so Carlos has the ability to get under opponents’ skin just through his work-rate.”
With six points against Chelsea this season, a win over Arsenal and two draws against Liverpool, Barry points out the Blues have taken as many points against the ‘Big Four’ as any club during the current campaign – further proof – if needed – of the continuing progress City are making.
If you assess our performances against the leading clubs we would be right up there in a mini league table
“But any team that finishes in the top four has to perform against the teams in the bottom half as well. That’s something we haven’t always done this season.
“Three points are massive in the Premier League and we need to keep collecting them. Earlier in the season we had a slump where we failed to win four or five games in a row which we should have won.
“Hopefully we can put that right on the run-in, when every point will make a difference.”