Joe Hart accepts that critics may point to Carlos Tevez's disruptive influence if Manchester City fail in their quest for the Premier League title this year, but the Citizens' goalkeeper insists that the club's other players do not plan to make such excuses.

The 24-year-old England international stopper is expecting the under-fire striker to make a positive impact for Roberto Mancini's side after returning from his unauthorised spell in Argentina.

Tevez was suspended and fined by the club following an incident back in September after it was deemed the 28-year-old refused to warm up in City's Champions League clash against Bayern Munich.

The row has blighted an otherwise successful campaign with the club sitting two points clear at the top of the Premier League table, but Hart is adamant that nobody will blame Tevez if they fail to clinch the title.

"A lot of people will say that but, personally, I won't," he told the Daily Mirror. "If we don't win the league, it will be our own fault. That includes Carlos, myself - everyone.

"I'm not interested in what's perceived outside of the club. All I'm interested in is what's going on inside the club and how we can win the league.

"If that means Carlos coming back, scoring a hat-trick and everyone saying he's the greatest player in the world, so be it. I couldn't care less.

"We've been working hard whilst he's been away for whatever reasons and I'm sure he understands that and appreciates that. So he'll have to earn his place back. But if Carlos can play anything like we know he can, he'll be an asset to the team."

With Manchester United hot on City's heels, Hart is expecting the title race to go right down to the wire, and so he has urged his teammates to keep their focus during the end of season run-in.

"It's gone great so far, but we'll judge it by where we finish at the end of the season," he explained. "It's nice now, but we need to win the title for it to be a good season.

"We've got the most successful club in England, especially in Premier League terms, snapping away at our heels, [and] there's obviously a lot of talk and hype around what we do. But we put ourselves under positive pressure to win every game.

"The Premier League is the most competitive in the world. I don't think anyone is ever going to romp it by the start of March."

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