The Blues boss admitted the Premier League champions face their toughest possible test in the Bernabéu.
Argentine forward Agüero, Manchester City’s 30-goal top scorer last season, has been sidelined with a knee ligament injury since the opening weekend of this campaign and Mancini had warned the former Atlético Madrid striker he had to appear against Stoke City on Saturday in order to challenge for selection against Real.
Agüero has now trained for the past three days, however, and Mancini admits he is still in contention to face the Spanish champions in tomorrow’s Group D opener.
“We have two days,” Mancini said. “He (Agüero) has another two days working with the team, so I think he can have a chance.
“He will travel with us. He worked with the team in the last three days, but we didn’t want to take any risks on Saturday. But maybe, for Madrid, he will be ready.”
And Mancini admits that, despite City’s recent growth under the ownership of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, they cannot compete with Real’s illustrious history and are not yet ready to claim centre stage with the Spanish giants.
“In this moment, no,” Mancini said. “I think we have good players and we are working for this. We want to improve but we cannot say this now.
“We have a good team, but we need to work and improve. I think it will be a fantastic game, for us though, fantastic for everyone at the club.
“The group stage is difficult, like last year, and we start again in a difficult game against a top team.
“We should be ready for it to be very difficult, because they have fantastic players, fantastic history, and for these reasons, if we want to do well there, we have to play very, very well.”
City’s debut campaign in the Champions League ended with a group stage exit last season, despite Mancini’s team amassing ten points in a group containing eventual runners-up Bayern Munich, Napoli and Villarreal.
Having been paired with Real, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax – the champions of Spain, Germany and Holland respectively – in this season’s competition, City face another daunting challenge in order to reach to the knock-out stages.
But Mancini believes that tomorrow’s game against Real poses arguably the greatest challenge of his time as City manager.
“When you play Champions League, every team is a top team, every game is difficult.” Mancini said. “But if you play against Real or Barcelona, you are up against 100 years of history.
“They have won everything, so for this reason, I also think it will be difficult.
“Madrid is the history of football for 100 years, but I think there can be incredible moments in the career of every player and this will be one of them because we play against a team with a history of 100 years.
“Real Madrid don’t have only (Cristiano) Ronaldo. Ronaldo is, with Messi, the best player in the world but they have 15, 16, 18 players at the top.
“We can win, we can lose, we can draw, but our mentality is not to go there, to Madrid or anywhere, for a draw, or to lose.
“We want to win always, but we know it will be a tough game. We play against one of the best teams in the world, but we want to do our job well.
“And after the group stage, if we win the same points as last year, I think we go through this time. If we get 10 points, we can get through.”
Tomorrow’s game will ensure the first encounter between Mancini and Real manager Mourinho since the Portuguese succeeded the Italian as coach at Inter Milan.
The relationship between the pair has since been frosty, but Mancini insists he is ready to greet the former Chelsea manager at the Bernabeu.
“He is a good manager, like all the other managers.” Mancini said. “When I see him I will say hello.”
By Mark Ogden Telegraph.co.uk