MANCHESTER CITY (4) vs BLACKBURN ROVERS (1)
MANCHESTER City boss Roberto Mancini warned his side to keep their eyes off the Premier League table after seeing a Carlos Tevez hat-trick reignite their title hopes.
A treble from red-hot Tevez, who now has 10 in seven league games, and a wonder-goal from Micah Richards propelled City back into the Champions League places and hot on the heels of the top three.
But Mancini, who has overseen four wins from four since taking charge last month, played down his team’s silverware hopes and berated them for conceding the first goal of his tenure, to Morten Gamst Pedersen.
“We don’t watch the table. We watch the table [in] two months. Now it is not important,” said Mancini. “Carlos Tevez played very, very well. But I’m angry because we conceded a goal – our gift. We must continue to play well and not concede one goal.”
City had been written off as title contenders but are now just six points off second-placed Manchester United with a game in hand. New signing Patrick Vieira was denied a debut by injury, but was in the stands to see Tevez bundle home Benjani Mwaruwari’s shot from close range after just seven minutes.
City needed until shortly before half-time for a second, when Richards galloped out of defence and past five men before laying off to Benjani, whose shot off the post fell kindly for the centre-back to tuck home.
City struck again just after the break, Tevez finishing a move he started by placing a measured, first-time shot beyond Paul Robinson from 18 yards. Pedersen sparked a flurry of Blackburn pressure by pulling a goal back, the Norway winger dispossessing Vincent Kompany and curling left-footed into the far corner.
But in stoppage time Tevez crowned the win with a nonchalant curler from the edge of the area.