Mancini: Tevez could return within three weeks

The prospect of outcast Carlos Tevez pulling on a Manchester City shirt again moved closer on Wednesday when manager Roberto Mancini said he accepted the Argentine striker's apology for his behaviour over recent months.

Tevez issued an unreserved apology on Tuesday and withdrew his appeal against a gross misconduct charge handed to him by the Premier League leaders after spending most of the past three months in his homelend without permission after a seemingly terminal fall-out with the coach.

NEWS: Tevez says sorry over his conduct

"I'm happy with what Carlos said. Tomorrow I will talk to him," Mancini said after City completed a 6-1 aggregate victory over Porto in the Europa League with a 4-0 thrashing of the Portuguese side on Wednesday.

"I've accepted his apology. There's a chance he can play for Manchester City again. I think he needs two or three weeks to train, and some games, but if he's ready in two or three weeks that's normal."

"Carlo knows the team very well. In the last six or seven months the team has played very well and are top of the Premier League," Mancini added.

"But Carlo is a top striker. He can help us to do a good job in the next two months."

The events of the past 24 hours represent a remarkable turnaround after the 28-year-old seemed unlikely ever to play for the club again following a bitter fall-out that began when he refused to warm up during City's Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich in September.

Italian Mancini said in the wake of that incident that Tevez was "finished" at the club.

The player's subsequent unauthorised absence prompted City to fine him six weeks' wages after finding him guilty of gross misconduct for serious breaches of contract.

Tevez had lodged an appeal with the Premier League over the charge but has withdrawn it.

Only last week Tevez appeared to further isolate himself when he accused Mancini of treating him "like a dog" in Munich, an accusation flatly rejected by Mancini.

Tevez said on Tuesday that his wish was to concentrate on playing for City again and help them push for their first English league title since 1968.

However, even if Mancini does welcome him back to the squad, the affection once reserved for Tevez from the City fans is now lavished on fellow Argentine Sergio Aguero who was on the scoresheet again against Porto.

Aguero has bagged 20 goals this season and Mario Balotelli has also been scoring regularly, notching 12 goals.

"Sergio is another top striker - he was important in this game and during the season. It is important to have all the strikers available at this stage," Mancini said.