City take on Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in their first game of the Champions League Group D.
It is the first time that the two clubs will have faced each other in a competitive fixture and represents a huge challenge for City, who also have to negotiate tough matches against fellow Group D opponents Borussia Dortmund and Ajax.
The immediate challenge, Real Madrid, will be aided by the possible return of striker Sergio Aguero after a knee injury he picked up on the opening day of the Premier League season against Southampton.
Gareth Barry also made his return to first team action against Stoke on Saturday and could feature. Micah Richards is the only absentee who has been sidelined since the Olympics with an ankle injury.
Roberto Mancini has given his thoughts ahead of the fixture and is keen to get off to a winning started. He said
It’s better to start with a victory. Last year we lost in Munich, but I remember that game and for 30 minutes we played very well before conceding two goals in 10 minutes.
It is important we learn for our experience but we know that it will be difficult in Madrid. The Champions League is very difficult and sometimes it’s not enough to get the points that we got last year.
We had ten points and I think that we did a good job. Maybe we made some mistakes because we didn’t go to the second stage, but while we know in the Premier League you have time to recover, the Champions League is different.
Our first game in Madrid will be very important, not only for the result but for our mentality going forward. We have a very tough group again this year.
Every draw was difficult last season, in the Champions League and Europa League. In the Champions League there are strong teams in every game.
Maybe you can be lucky some time but it’s difficult for us, like it is for Madrid, Borussia and Ajax. It’s important to go through to the second stage and after February everything can happen.
Jose Mourinho, the Real Madrid manager, has also spoken ahead of the tie and wasted no time in partaking in his infamous mind games, suggesting that City will win the Champions League, sooner or later. He said:
I don’t know if it is this season or next season – with Roberto Mancini or with another person. But normally, with the direction the club is going, sooner or later they will win the big cup.
I don’t think it is very different to Chelsea. Since Roman bought the club, (Claudio) Ranieri was the first coach, then I came and we won the first league, some cups and some more titles. Carlo (Ancelotti) then came and they continued to win and finally they won the Champions League.
With City it started off with Mark Hughes, they started spending money and buying good players. Then Roberto (Mancini) came and he has done a very good job. He has created a great squad, the first cup then the first title arrived. It will happen sooner or later.