Manchester City coach David Platt insists Carlos Tevez's shock demand for a transfer won't be a distraction in Monday's clash against Everton. Just when it appeared City's season was heading in the right direction, the Premier League's biggest spenders were left rocked by Tevez's transfer request this week.
The Tevez furore was the last thing Roberto Mancini, Manchester City's manager, needed having pushed his side into third place - just two points behind leaders Arsenal.
The Argentinian striker, who has held crunch talks over his future with Mancini, is expected to start against Everton on Monday despite making it clear he wants to leave in the January transfer window due to disagreements with the club's hierarchy.
Tevez has scored 39 goals in 60 appearances since his controversial move from rivals Manchester United, and Platt admitted he is a key player whom the club do not want to lose. But Platt, Mancini's assistant, is confident the Tevez saga will not affect the team's performance.
"I think players keep themselves in a bubble," Platt said. "In my experience of professional football they are very resilient. We know there is an issue around the club but it is not an issue that affects what is happening on the pitch. Once they cross that white line they go out and play. I don't think it will be a problem with our on-field stuff."
Meanwhile City defender Micah Richards is hopeful that Tevez will remain at the club for the foreseeable future.
"I'm confident he will stay here," he said. "He's a big part of the team. If you ask anyone, they will tell you that. I think they will get it sorted out and the sooner the better. He's been just the same. He's got his opinions, but I'm sure we can keep him until the end of the season at least.
"We're going well in the league, we're top of our group in Europe. It's going well for us and he's a big part of what we're trying to do, so hopefully he will stay. I don't think it's anything to do with Man City to be honest. He's said previously that he's tired. He made his debut when he was 15 or 16 and I think he's missing his family back home."
City certainly need Tevez, who is their top scorer with ten goals, having taken just 15 points from eight home games this season. Despite their lofty position, amazingly they remain the top flight's joint-lowest scorers at home.
They face an Everton side who have been struggling of late. But the Toffees' recent form at Eastlands has been impressive, with David Moyes' side winning their last three visits.
A fourth consecutive win on that ground would give Everton their first league victory since October 30, when they beat Stoke 1-0, and Moyes admits he needs to address his side's shortcomings in the transfer window.
"I would like to add two or three, but they will be loan players," he said. "We have a few people in mind, so we will see how it goes. You have to be careful not to think that suddenly everyone arrives here on January 1 because that won't happen; it will be through the month."
The Everton manager also confirmed he will lose this season's leading goalscorer, Tim Cahill, to the Asian Cup after the Premier League game at Stoke on New Year's Day.