Joe Hart expects Carlos Tevez to make an impact for Manchester City after returning to the fold, but will not blame the striker if they fail to clinch the title.
Tevez is at Roberto Mancini's disposal once again after coming back to England from an unauthorised spell in Argentina and apologising for his conduct, having refused to resume his warm-up during the UEFA Champions League game against Bayern Munich in September.
The Tevez row has blighted what has been an otherwise excellent campaign for the club, with City two points clear of Manchester United at the top of the table in their bid to become Premier League champions for the first time.
Hart accepts that critics may point to Tevez's disruptive influence if City slip off their perch, but he says the other players in the squad will not make such excuses and must take individual responsibility.
"A lot of people will say that but, personally, I won't," he said in 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."
Earn his place
Tevez will face a fight to get back in the team as City's strikers are all in fine form at present, but Hart recognises that he could have a crucial part to play.
The 28-year-old is currently rebuilding his fitness in training and scored for the reserves in a game against Bolton earlier this week, with a possible first-team recall within the next fortnight.
"I've not trained with Carlos personally [since his return], because of games and recovery, but the lads assure me that he's firing," said the goalkeeper.
"I'm sure it's difficult [for the manager] and I'm sure other people are way ahead of Carlos in the pecking order, and rightfully so.
"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."
Hart expects the title race to go right down to the wire and has urged his City team-mates to keep their focus and stay ahead of fierce rivals United.
"It's gone great so far, but we'll judge it by where we finish at the end of the season," said Hart.
"It's nice now, but we need to win the title for it to be a good season.
"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.
"We've got the most successful club in England, especially in Premier League terms, snapping away at our heels."