Tevez was in typically hard-working mood against former club West Ham
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson insists Carlos Tevez is still a key player for the club after handing the striker his first start in a month.
Tevez, 24, has suffered since £31m Dimitar Berbatov arrived but partnered him in Wednesday's win over West Ham.
"He has not started as many games as he would like but he is just as important to us as the guys who have hogged the headlines of late," said Ferguson.
"I stressed to him last week that our faith in him remains absolute."
The Argentine is still effectively on loan at United, having arrived on a two-year-deal from West Ham in 2007, but says he hopes to agree terms on a permanent contract at Old Trafford before the end of the season.
He remains a top player in the eyes of myself, the players and our supporters
Sir Alex Ferguson
However, his future at United has been brought into question recently following the arrival of Berbatov from Spurs, along with the superb form of England striker Wayne Rooney but Ferguson is adamant he still has a major role to play.
"He remains a top player in the eyes of myself, the players and our supporters," he said.
"But three players will not fit into two positions and my job is to balance the team.
"Carlos worked really hard in the first half but I felt in the second he was feeling the effects of playing his first game for so long."
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