Roberto Mancini needs to sack Carlos Tevez and to get him away from the club as quickly as possible.
Tevez’s disruptive and poisonous attitude will already have spread through the City camp. If Mancini fails to act decisively, his status with the players will diminish.
The scope of the disruption was evident in the aftermath of Tevez’s refusal to take part in the game against Bayern Munich.
And far worse was to see Tevez smilingly inviting teammates to join his little conspiracy.
As we learned when we were at school, one disruptor in the class will soon turn into two if unchecked. Then four, and more.
As Hopper said to his fellow grasshoppers when he was warning them about a disruptive ant in the film A Bugs Life: “You let one ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up!”
The uncharacteristic response of Edin Dzeko to his substitution suggests that player mutiny is bubbling. When Dzeko throws a wobbler, something is seriously wrong.
This is Mancini’s biggest test of authority.
He needs the backing of his staff, and the owners.
Tevez, of course, denies the accusations—he would wouldn’t he?
There is some confusion, he says.
He’s got that one right.
But the confusion has been of his making. “Would you come on as substitute with 35 minutes left to play, Carlos?” is not confusing.
“No, I will not because even though you are paying me a king’s ransom, you should have picked me for the starting line up and you should have let me leave in the summer anyway,” is beginning to create the confusion.
And the mess that will follow the selfish Tevez in his career from here onwards certainly will be a confusion.
Tevez's belated apology to City's fans is lamentably weak. He let the club down in Germany, on the biggest night of their recent history. But he could do, and probably has already done immense damage to his club's morale.
Great player, but poisonous property.