MANCHESTER — Roberto Mancini has conceded that Manchester City will have a hard time beating Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday if they fail to contain Cristiano Ronaldo.
Report by Soccernet
City host Real at the Etihad Stadium needing a win to keep their very slim hopes of qualification intact, but Mancini joked that the home side will need to “call the police” just to reduce Ronaldo’s impact.
“I just hope he can have a bad night on Wednesday because, when you come up against a player who can score one or two goals every game, it is difficult,” he said. “Ronaldo is a top player and he deserves to win the Ballon d’Or.
“He scored so many goals last year and that helped Real to finish above Barcelona. I think that in a lot of games we play against top players, but Ronaldo is different because if you score one or two goals in every game, you need to pay attention.
“It’s difficult for us because, at the moment, him and Messi are the best players in the world.”
Ronaldo scored a late winner when City travelled to the Bernabeu in the opening game of this season’s Champions League and Mancini believes Real’s come-from-behind win dented the English champions’ hopes of qualification.
“If we had come back from the Bernabeu with a good result, it would have probably changed this group for us,” he said. “It was really disappointing. It’s not easy to play there and in the first half they played better than us, but the match totally changed in the second half and, when you are 2-1 up with three minutes to go, you should be very strong to close the game.
“I think that we don’t have any chance to go to the second stage, but football is strange. I think for the fans it’s an important game because, three or four years ago, City supporters would want this game and to play in the Champions League against Real and Barcelona. Now it’s an important game and we want to do a good job.”
The Premier League champions have only taken two points from their opening four European games this season and anything other than victory will make progress mathematically impossible.
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 today’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.”