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Sep 18, 2012

Mancini: City will win UCL one day

Roberto Mancini insists Manchester City will win the Champions League in the near future as they prepare to kick-off their latest campaign against nine-time winners Real Madrid on Tuesday.

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City, who claimed the Premier League title last term, will begin their second successive season in the continent's elite competition at the Santiago Bernabeu in a highly-anticipated Group D opener. Mancini believes the club can follow its 2011 FA Cup and 2012 Premier League success with Champions League silverware - but stressed it may not happen immediately.

"If you drive a Ferrari you can win, if you drive a Fiat Cinquecento, probably not," said Mancini. "In the past we have been working for this. I think we beat good teams but we have played together for two years and we needed time.

"I am sure we will arrive to win this trophy in the future. I do not know when, but I am sure because we are working for this. If we want to improve every year it is possible."

City did not progress beyond the group stage last season having been drawn against Bayern Munich, Napoli and Villarreal. This year they will face the champions of Holland, Germany and Spain, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid respectively.

"I think it was a good experience last year - we did a good group but it was not enough," said Mancini. "I think the group will be stronger this year but it will be difficult for all the teams.

"I think it is important now that we go to the second stage. After February anything can happen, but now it is difficult to say what we can do."

Much has been made of Mancini's rivalry with his Real Madrid counterpart Jose Mourinho, but the Italian insists it is not a factor. The pair faced each other in one previous European tie, when Mancini's Lazio met Mourinho's Porto nine years ago.

Despite that, it is assumed tension has existed between them since 2008 over the manner Mourinho succeeded Mancini as Inter Milan boss. Mourinho then went on to take Mancini's Serie A winners to Champions League glory.

"We don't have a personal relationship. I met him two times for Porto against Lazio and I met him in Milan but I have only met him four or five times. I know him as a manager.

"I think tomorrow will be a good game, Real Madrid against Manchester City, but I think the most important thing will be the fantastic players on the pitch," Mancini said.

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