Roberto Mancini believes that Carlos Tevez still has an important part to play in Manchester City's future, this season and beyond, after he helped the club into the FA Cup semi-finals.
Tevez scored a hat-trick - the fifth of his City career - and had a hand in two other goals as his side beat Championship club Barnsley in the quarter-finals to reach the Wembley semi-finals next month (april).
The Argentinian forward was arrested by Cheshire Police on Thursday on suspicion of driving while disqualified, an offence which carries with it a maximum prison sentence of six months.
But Tevez clearly did not let his off-field troubles affect his football as he showed how important he can be for Mancini's hopes of following last season's Premier League title with another trophy.
"It is important that Carlo (eds: correct) continues to score because we need his goals between now and the end of the season, for the league and also for the cup," said Mancini, who led City to FA Cup success in 2011.
"Afterwards, we don't know what will happen in the summer. Carlo has another year's contract and it depends on him. At this moment we can say nothing, our focus should be on the last two months.
"It depends on him. He has said many times he wants to go back to Argentina so it depends on him. But now, we don't need to think about this situation."
Mancini revealed that while he did consider not starting Tevez in the quarter-final, the uncertainty had nothing to do with the player's problems with the police.
"If it has had an affect on him, I hope the police can stop him every day, after he scored three goals," joked Mancini. "I hope they can do this next Friday!
"I didn't know anything about it until I saw it in the newspaper. I haven't spoken to him because I knew nothing. I read it in the newspaper and asked him if it was true. It is his problem, not our problem.
"I did have my doubts about whether to play him because I wanted to play with Edin (Dzeko) on his own up front to give Carlo maybe one more game rest but, afterwards, I decided to play with Edin and Carlo."
Tevez came off to a standing ovation after 76 minutes of the quarter-final, although it was a merely precautionary measure after the forward claimed he had suffered a minor injury.
"He asked for the change, maybe he was tired," said Mancini. "He told me he had a problem so I was just checking with him but I think he is okay."
City currently trail league leaders Manchester United by 12 points in the Premier League, leaving the FA Cup as their last realistic chance of winning honours this season, although Mancini still insists that, despite the attraction of at least one Wembley trip this season, his focus is still on the title.
"We hope to win another trophy but the Premier League is not finished," he said. "Why not? This is football.
"In the FA Cup we now have one game that can get us into the final and if we were to win the FA Cup, it would be important. It is always good to play at Wembley and we want to play there two more times if it's possible."