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'Always pressure' for Mancini's Manchester City

Published: Tuesday 20 November 2012, 21.15CET
Though Roberto Mancini is calling on Manchester City FC to cling onto their slim hopes, Real Madrid CF's José Mourinho thinks the English champions' campaign is already over.
by Nick Aitken
from Manchester
'Always pressure' for Mancini's Manchester City
Roberto Mancini at Manchester City training on Tuesday ©AFP/Getty Images

Tournament statistics

Man. CityReal Madrid

Goals scored7
on target41
off target23
Fouls committed74
Yellow cards15
Red Cards0
Published: Tuesday 20 November 2012, 21.15CET

'Always pressure' for Mancini's Manchester City

Though Roberto Mancini is calling on Manchester City FC to cling onto their slim hopes, Real Madrid CF's José Mourinho thinks the English champions' campaign is already over.

With Manchester City FC's UEFA Champions League campaign on life support, manager Roberto Mancini is feeling the pressure ahead of the Group D visit of Real Madrid CF. Up against "one of the best teams in the world", Mancini wants his side to salvage their pride and spoil the occasion for José Mourinho, who is taking charge of his 100th game in Europe's premier club competition.

Roberto Mancini, manager
Maybe it takes pressure off [that we're outsiders to progress], but when you're obliged to win and you play an important game like this in the Champions League there's always pressure. We don't have much chance to go through but it's important to put in a good performance. It was a difficult group from the start and now it's very difficult because of the mistakes we made in the first two games.

When you play Real Madrid, one of the best teams in the world, you want to do a good job, play well and win, and that's what we'll be trying to do. I think Cristiano Ronaldo is a factor in every game, as he always has a big impact. Anyone who scores one or two goals a game is an incredible player who we'll need to watch carefully. There are other players, too, of course.

My opinion is that Real Madrid are the best team in the world, along with Barcelona, and when you play them you face 11 top players and you need to be aware of them all. Ronaldo, [Karim] Benzema, [Ángel] Di María, [Mesut] Özil, [Xabi] Alonso – they can all hurt you. Madrid score three or four goals every game, but football is good because sometimes you beat teams like that.

Congratulations to José, because to have already coached 100 Champions League games at his age is a big deal. But it's not Mourinho v Mancini: it's between the players, they are more important than we are.

Weekend result
Saturday: City 5-0 Aston Villa FC (Silva 43, Agüero 54pen 67, Tévez 65pen 74)

Hart; Maicon, Kompany, Nastasić, Clichy (Kolarov 73); Y Touré, Barry; Silva (Sinclair 76), Nasri; Tévez, Agüero (Džeko 68).

• The win was City's biggest in any competition since defeating Norwich City FC 6-1 on 14 April.

Team news
Mancini does not expect Gaël Clichy to be available after the left-back picked up an ankle injury against Aston Villa, while Mario Balotelli is doubtful with a back problem. James Milner and Jack Rodwell have shaken off hamstring complaints, but Micah Richards (knee) is a long-term absentee.

José Mourinho, coach
I always said how much I loved my time here and I always love to be back. I know when you play in England you have difficult matches, difficult opponents and a difficult atmosphere, because the crowd are always strongly behind the team. I enjoy that and I think my players are also happy to play in England.

I think it is normal if a big team doesn't win the competition because there are other teams with the same power, the same desire and the same responsibility. I don't think it is normal when you are out of the competition at a very early stage. I speak for myself, and if Real Madrid lost a final, or a semi-final, or even a quarter-final, that's football. But when you are out at the group stage it is more difficult to accept and to understand. Last season, they were out [at this stage] and this season I think they will be out again.

If City won [in Madrid on matchday one] it would have been a different story. But we had a fantastic reaction and we won the match and got three points. They are crucial for us to be in a position where we rely on ourselves and are in good shape to qualify.

Weekend result
Saturday: Madrid 5-1 Athletic Club (Aurtenetxe og 12, Ramos 30, Benzema 32, Özil 56, Khedira 72; Ibai Gómez 42)
Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrão; Alonso, Modrić, Callejón (Dí María 70), Özil (Khedira 62), Ronaldo; Benzema (Morata 74).

• Madrid maintained their unbeaten home record this season and earned their fifth consecutive top-flight win.

Team news
Michael Essien has a knock and remains in the Spanish capital with Marcelo (broken foot) and strikers Gonzalo Higuaín (hamstring) and Álvaro Morata (unknown). Reserve-team forward Denis Cheryshev, who last week made his Russia debut despite not yet making a senior club appearance, has been drafted into the squad.

Match fact
• After fighting back to draw with Borussia Dortmund and AFC Ajax, City are unbeaten in 19 European home matches since a 1-0 loss to FC Midtjylland in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup second qualifying round.

Last updated: 25/09/14 4.17CET