Soccer News: Manchester City and Real Madrid Face off in Champions League Action
As Manchester City and Real Madrid face off in the opening round of Champions League play, manager Roberto Mancini took time to answer questions from the media at a press conference. Expectations are high for City to do well this year in Champions League. At the conference, Mancini talked about his own expectations for both the first match and the season.
Last year City’s Champions League season ended in the group stage with a 3-1-2 record and 10 points, placing them third behind Bayern Munich (4-1-1) and Napoli (3-2-1). This year Mancini looks for his club to move out of group and into the second stage of competition. As part of Group D, Manchester City will face not only Real Madrid but AFC Ajax and Borussia Dortmund.
Mancini believes that his side is stronger this year than last, but that it will still be a challenge for every team to move on to the knockout round. “I think it will be very important to start the group well,” he told reporters. “We know that it will be a difficult match because…Real Madrid is one of the best teams in the world. But we want to do better than last year.”
Asked to compare the Real Madrid match with City’s game against Bayern last season, Mancini was very frank in his assessment. “Probably as a team we don’t have the same speed as Bayern Munich or Real Madrid in the Champions League, but I remember very well that last year we played the first 30 minutes very well,” he said. Mancini predicted that the Real Madrid match would also be a difficult game.
The key, according to Mancini, is for City to attack and defend well, but that the team’s mentality is more attack oriented. “Our mentality is not to stay there, to wait” on defense, he explained. “We need to play for the ball.”
Although Real Madrid had lost a difficult game against Sevilla over the weekend, Mancini does not expect that to have a great affect on the match with Man City. The key for both teams will be to stay focused on the field and not let other distractions pull them off their game.
While Manchester City may not be one of the favored teams to win Champions League this year, Mancini knows that his side has the potential down the road of bringing the trophy home. “I am sure we are able to win this trophy in the future,” he declared. “I don’t know when, but I am sure because we are working for this. We want to improve every year if possible.”