Shanghai Shenhua reject Carlos Tevez reserve talk, but tell him to try harder

Shanghai Shenhua have rejected reports Carlos Tevez has been banished from the first team, but did challenge the forward "to show the real stuff."

Tevez has struggled to impress since joining Shenhua from Boca Juniors in December, having scored just three goals in 13 games.

Shenhua chairman Wu Xiaohui said last week the 33-year-old's form "didn't meet our expectations," while he has also been booed by his own team's supporters.

Tevez was left out of Shenhua's two previous Chinese Super League games, but club spokesperson Ma Yue rejected reports from the player's native Argentina that he has refused to link up with the reserve side.

"Tevez has never been told that he has no place in the first team, and the claim that he refused to answer [the] club's calls [to play with reserve team] is not true," Ma wrote on Weibo.

"Quite the contrary, head coach Wu Jingui and team leader Mao Yijun have shown great concern for him and the communication between them is very smooth."

However, Ma added that Shenhua wanted Tevez to work in order to win his place back in the first team.

"Tevez brings a private coach from Argentina during the season interval and does extra training of his own will after 4 p.m. every day," the statement added.

"We are not making excuses for Tevez, the club just want to clarify that he hasn't abandoned himself like some foreign media have claimed.

"He should have realised that he will not be picked in the starting lineup purely on reputation. We have five healthy foreign players -- if he wants to be one of the three who are eligible to play, he's got to show the real stuff."

Last week, Tevez launched an attack on the capabilities of Chinese footballers, claiming those playing in the country will not be able to reach the top "even in 50 years" -- though Shenhua said SFR Sports took those comments out of context.