"Manchester City can win the Champions League" - Roberto Mancini

Roberto Mancini was given every opportunity to ease the almost intolerable pressure on himself and his side ahead of the encounter with Borussia Dortmund.

He was encouraged to concede that, for all the skill he has displayed in winning domestic championships, he is still striving to master the unique demands of the Champions League.

He was asked if it was unfair to expect too much of Manchester City when this is only their eighth game in the competition; in their second seasons both Manchester United and Arsenal failed to progress from the group stage.

He did not appear to appreciate the question about his record in Europe — a record, at Inter Milan and City, that is so inferior to his league record — and delivered a bristling response. ‘I don’t need to learn,’ he said. ‘The Champions League is a difficult competition but it is still football, it is still 11 v 11.’

The pressure, particularly after losing that opening game at Real Madrid last month, was normal, he said. ‘It is the second year for us but we are a good team,’ he said. ‘Like United, like Arsenal. Like we improve in the Premier League, we need to now improve in the Champions League. We just don’t have a lot of time. Only five games. That means we can’t repeat the mistakes we made in Madrid.’

Mancini did apply a touch more realism ahead of the match at the Etihad. In Madrid he had likened his side to a Ferrari. At Carrington yesterday he said that although ‘the moment will arrive when City can win the Champions League’, they are ‘not there yet’.