City vs. Real Madrid – the managers’ verdict

Robert Pollard

After jetting in to watch Manchester City’s match against QPR recently, Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has again made clear that the Spanish champions cannot take City lightly.

City and Real meet on Tuesday at the Santiago Bernabeu and Mourinho has reiterated his belief that the Blues will pose his side a serious threat.

Real’s defeat to Sevilla last night means they have already slipped 8 points behind rivals Barcelona in the La Liga table and Mourinho will expect a better performance in their opening Group D match on Tuesday. Preparation is key for Mourinho and this game with City is no different.

I went over to see City play because I want my job to be done as close to perfection as possible. I wanted to analyse our opponents not just by video or stats but to see them first hand.

Okay a match against QPR is not a good game to make a direct transfer to a match in the Bernabeu. But it was good enough to see some aspects of the City team.

And what I do know is they have very good players – and are a powerful side. I don’t like to speak about opponents individually but it’s no problem to say that we respect Carlos Tevez a lot.

I also know Mario Balotelli and the player he is because we were together at Inter for two years and so he certainly has nothing to prove to me.

He was also keen to point out that Real Madrid have nothing to prove and that they are a unique club.

Real Madrid is Real Madrid, it’s the real thing. A club no football result, no cup competition, no coach, no player can ever change.

Quite simply Real Madrid is a club like no other. It’s incomparable with any other club in the world.

There is no team anywhere that can be compared with Real Madrid. None.
Remember I was in Portugal, in England and in Italy before coming here to Madrid, so I know what I am saying. There are great clubs but the pressure and the expectation is the greatest here at Real Madrid.

It is huge but it is an enjoyable pressure, not a suffocating one.

Whilst acknowledging that City’s history is no match for Madrid’s, Roberto Mancini has urged his side to ignore Mourinho in the build up and concentrate on their own game. The Madrid boss has a tendency to play mind games and get inside the mind of the opposition, something Mancini is clearly keen to avoid.

It’s clear that we don’t have the history like Real Madrid but I think that Manchester City have won some trophies and we want to win now – and for the next 10 years.

Manchester City will be a top team like Real but they have a big history and that’s the difference.

I played against him twice, Lazio against Porto seven or eight years ago in the UEFA Cup. We lost 4-1 in Porto and drew 0-0 in Rome. I also met him in Milan when he went to Inter.

It’s important that our players play this game – only this. The other things are not important.

Without players you can’t play – but without managers you can still play.

On the subject of Ronaldo, the City boss denied interest in the player but quipped he’d like to see him sit out Tuesday’s clash.

Did we think of trying to sign him in the summer? No.

But if they leave Cristiano at home on Tuesday night it would be better for us. Players like Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are difficult to mark.

At the moment these two are the best players in the world. Real Madrid and Barcelona are the best teams in the world.

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