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Nov 25, 2011

Mancini plays down UCL hopes

Roberto Mancini will not give up on Manchester City's Champions League challenge but claims they are not good enough to win the competition.

• No cut-price deal for Tevez
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Despite huge investment into their squad, the Premier League leaders now face an uphill task to reach the knockout stage of Europe's premier club competition after a shattering defeat at Napoli on Tuesday.

Mancini's side must now beat Bayern Munich in their final Group A fixture and hope already-eliminated Villarreal can claim their first points of the competition against Napoli to progress.

Mancini said: ''We hope we can beat Bayern Munich and Napoli can lose a point at Villarreal but I think we should be realistic. I don't think we have a team to win the Champions League because Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, (AC) Milan are maybe better and they have more experience than us in the Champions League.''

City will drop into the Europa League if results go against them in the last round of group games on December 7.

Mancini is philosophical about that prospect and has dismissed suggestions the second-tier competition could be a hindrance to his side's domestic title bid.

The Italian maintains he was not disappointed with his side's performance at the Stadio San Paolo earlier this week, just the result.

He said: ''I hope we can stay in the Champions League but if we go into the Europa League we will try to win it. It is not like the Champions League but for us it is an important trophy.

''I hope we can stay, because after the Champions League (group stage) it is strange. If you go into the second stage maybe you can meet APOEL Nicosia or Bayer Leverkusen and you can go through - but I don't know what can happen. We did everything and I think we did a good game.''

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