Roberto Mancini believes 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 5-0 to reach the Wembley semi-finals next month.
The Argentinian forward was arrested by Cheshire police last Thursday on suspicion of driving while disqualified, an offence which carries with it a maximum prison sentence of six months.
But Tevez 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 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. 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. 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."
Tevez has said in recent interviews that he is settled in England, now that his family is with him in Manchester.
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," joked Mancini. "[But] 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 but I think he is okay."
City currently trail 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."
Meanwhile, the FA Cup quarter-final between Blackburn and Milwall last night ended in a 0-0 draw. The two second-tier Championships sides will replay the tie at Ewood Park on Wednesday.
In the English Premier League, Papiss Cisse scored a stoppage-time winner as Newcastle came from behind for the third consecutive game to beat Stoke 2-1.