Tevez goal keeps City hopeful

Carlos Tevez’s goal for Manchester City maintained interest in the top and bottom of the Premier League. The three points meant that City could still just about see Manchester United’s tail-lights in the distance and maintain their pursuit. The defeat kept Villa in the relegation zone.

City’s lack of fluency was in evidence once more. Brad Guzan made several fine saves in the Villa goal, but a slip by the defender Ciaran Clark presented Tevez with the chance to round the goalkeeper and score his 12th goal of the season.

Tevez was also the hero at the other end, blocking a Christian Benteke header on the City goal-line. It was one of the few chances that Villa mustered in a match that was short on goalmouth incidents.

Having claimed the three points in difficult circumstances, Roberto Mancini, the City manager, wasn’t quite ruling out the possibility of overhauling United and retaining the title but believes City will have to win all their remaining matches and hope that United suffer a dramatic collapse. He isn’t allowing himself to be concerned about the progress of Spurs in third position. "We want to look only for the first post, we can't look behind," Mancini said.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert was also trying to remain positive after some improved performances from his team in recent matches. He didn’t want to blame his young captain Clark too much for the goal. "I think he’s just tried something he maybe shouldn't have tried, probably feeling confident," Lambert said, "But he's been excellent for me this season."

The run-up to Easter will be crucial for Villa’s survival chances. "The next two games are massive for us, but if we play like that we'll certainly give teams a fright," Lambert said. "If we keep playing like that we'll stay up."

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