City trail rivals Manchester United by three points at the top ahead of their visit to Etihad Stadium on Monday.

But, while his side could go top by virtue of goal difference with a win, Mancini believes City could have been in an even better position had they had their Argentine forward all season.

"It's clear that with him we would have had a better chance," Mancini told France Football.

"But we were top of the league until March, which means the other strikers did well."

Tevez and Mancini were embroiled in a war of words over the Argentine's refusal to warm up in a Champions League tie against Bayern Munich in October.

This confrontation resulted in Tevez going on strike back in his homeland before January moves to AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain fell through.

However, Mancini said he retains a good working relationship with the former West Ham striker and claims he was under no pressure to bring him back into the team.

"Yes, yes we say hello with Carlos. I always had a good rapport with him. I didn't have a problem to forgive him," he said.

"The board have never imposed anything on me. To play Tevez again was a logical choice because he didn't leave in the January transfer window.

"He's a player of great quality, one of the best strikers in the world, and we thought he could help us.

"I have had a good attitude with him like with everyone else. It's not us who wanted him to go to Argentina in November.

"I was very sorry with that situation. I found it strange. I don't know why all this happened."