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Monday, November 19, 2012
Mancini calls for 'perfect performance'

Richard Jolly

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes the club will have to give a "perfect performance" against Real Madrid to keep their faint hopes of qualification for the Champions League's knockout stages alive.

• Blog: Callejon gives Mourinho headache

The Premier League champions have only taken two points from their opening four European games this season and anything other than victory against Jose Mourinho's team on Wednesday will make progress mathematically impossible.

City led 2-1 in the Santiago Bernabeu in their first game before late goals from Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo gave the Spanish champions the three points.

Mancini's men go into the return fixture in fine form after Saturday's 5-0 win over Aston Villa took them top of the league.

However, the Italian still feels his side will need to perform even better in Wednesday's glamour tie.

"Unfortunately, this result will not count for anything against Real Madrid." Mancini said. "It is important for the Premier League and I think it was a good performance.

"But would it be good enough to beat Real? I don't know about that. They are one of the best teams in the world and, to beat them, we will have to give a perfect performance. We will have to play even better than we did against Aston Villa if we are to beat Real.

"That's what it is going to take. When we played over there, we were 2-1 up with four minutes to go, so I don't think it will be easy. They have three or four players who can decide a game at any moment, and we are going to have to work very hard as a team."

But, Mancini is confident that his big-name and big-game players will be able to rise to the challenge of facing Real.

"If you have players who have won World Cups, like David Silva, or who have won everything in the game, like Yaya Toure, you know what you are going to get on nights like this," he said.

"For them, playing against Real Madrid is the essence of football, and it should bring the best out of them. When you are young and starting out in football, you think about how much you would love to play against Real Madrid or Barcelona.

"Sergio Aguero is the same, and it could be important that he missed the game in the Bernabeu. He will want to make up for that and I think he can cause problems for Real. But, above all, we must play as a team.

"They have a big history, going back a long way. But I do think we have the players who can beat them. It is possible."




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