Roberto Mancini has claimed that Manchester City are "not ready" to win the Champions League, and again conceded that the club need something "incredible" to get through to the last 16.
Mancini was speaking after his team's 0-0 draw at West Ham United on Saturday, which raised some of the issues in attack which have also concerned the Italian in Europe. And, although there remains the possibility that this is all a motivational tool in the manner of his comments during last season's title run-in, the tone of the City manager's arguments suggested something deeper.
Most pointedly, he brought up Chelsea's decade-long evolution in the Champions League and how long it took them to win it after May's eventual victory.
"I don't think we are ready to win a Champions League. If say [we are], we are not honest. Chelsea for how many years tried to win the Champions League when they were probably the best team in Europe. And they won after 10 years, probably when they didn't deserve. We are not ready to play, to win a Champions League."
Referencing this season's problems, Mancini acknowledged they have minimal chances of qualifying for the second round.
"If we win the next three games, anything can happen. But, before, it's [an outside chance]. It's clear that, in the Champions League, incredible situations can happen during February, March but we're talking about the group, like last year.
"We played a very poor game against Borussia [Dortmund] and Ajax we played so-so. Also, [at Ajax], when we were 1-0 we missed two incredible chances to close the game. In the Champions League, if you don't score, the game is open.
"We need to continue to work. The pitch is the same, the players the same, the referees - nothing changes. It's not this. We need to improve, we need to play better, to score when we have a chance."