Roberto Mancini targets Champions League victory for Manchester City in Madrid
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is unfazed by the prospect of coming up against the history and world-class talents of Real Madrid. City return to the Champions League with a mouth-watering trip to the Bernabeu Stadium to face the Spanish champions tonight.
City’s historic credentials pale in comparison to those of their illustrious opponents but Mancini sees no reason why the reigning Barclays Premier League champions should be cowed by the nine-time European title-winners.
The Italian said: “Our mentality is not to go there – to Madrid or anywhere – for a draw, or to lose. We want to win always. But we know it will be a tough game. We play against one of the best teams in the world, but we want to do our job well.
“I think it will be a fantastic game and a fantastic for moment for everyone at the club. But when you play Champions League, every team is a top team, every game is difficult.
“If you play against Real or Barca, you are up against 100 years of history. They have won everything. For this reason, I also think it will be difficult.”
Real’s chief threat is former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored a remarkable 60 goals last season.
Yet Mancini is wary of focusing too much on the £80million man. He said: “Real Madrid don’t have only Ronaldo. Ronaldo is, with [Lionel] Messi, the best player in the world but they have 15, 16, 18 players at the top.”
City failed to progress beyond the group stage in their maiden Champions League campaign last year despite accumulating ten points with some respectable performances.
Yet after facing Bayern Munich, Napoli and Villarreal in 2011-12, the task is even tougher this time with two other domestic champions in Ajax and Borussia Dortmund also in Group D.
Mancini said: “We have 23 or 24 players with experience, having played Champions League, they know this atmosphere.
“After the group stage, if we have got the same points as last year, I think we go will through this time.”
Last season’s top scorer Sergio Aguero is to travel with City in the hope of proving his fitness after a month out with a knee injury.
Mancini said: “We didn’t want to take any risks on Saturday but maybe for Madrid he will be ready.”
City were boosted on the eve of the match with the announcement that David Silva has agreed a new five-year contract.
The Spain midfielder’s new deal runs until the summer of 2017, the Barclays Premier League champions announced on their website. Silva, 26, joined City from Valencia in July 2010 and last season helped the club win the league title for the first time since 1968.
The world and European champion is the latest player to pledge his long-term future to City, following in the footsteps of England keeper Joe Hart and Belgium and club captain Vincent Kompany. Speaking about his new deal, Silva said: “I’m very pleased because I’ve been here for two years now and I feel very happy here at the club, in the city and with all the people. I’m delighted to be extending my contract and being here really does feel just like home for me.
“We’ve won the Premier League title and two other trophies too, and the team is growing and we are now aiming at the Champions League and so that also is another reason to want to stay here and try and win it.
“As I said, I feel very comfortable here and I want to try and win trophies like those.”
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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