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Mancini plays down any Real rivalry with Mourinho

MANCHESTER CITY manager Roberto Mancini has played down talk of a personal duel with Real Madrid counterpart Jose Mourinho ahead of tonight's vital Champions League clash.

Despite only coming up against each other once since Mourinho succeeded Mancini at Inter Milan in 2008, the pair have a perceived rivalry.

Any tension is believed to relate to the manner in which Mourinho was installed at the San Siro, and then followed by taking the Italian's title-winning squad on to Champions League glory.

But Mancini has no time for such suggestions and is focused only on victory at the Etihad Stadium, rather than specifically spoiling Mourinho's 100th match in the competition.

Mancini said: "Congratulations to him. To do 100 caps in the Champions League at his age (49) is very important, but I think tomorrow is not Mourinho against Mancini but City against Real Madrid.

"That is more important. The players are more important than us."

Mancini's son Andrea, who plays for Real Valladolid, added spice to the clash by saying his father knew more about football than Mourinho.


He qualified that by saying Mourinho was a better motivator and added that the ideal manager would be "a mixture of the two".

After collecting just two points from their first four matches in Group D, City must beat the Spanish giants to keep their slim hopes of reaching the knockout stages alive.

Even then they will have to follow up by beating Borussia Dortmund in a fortnight and hope other results go their way to avoid premature elimination for a second successive season.

As far as Mourinho is concerned, the task is beyond the Premier League champions.

The Portuguese said: "I speak for myself. If Real Madrid loses a final or semi-final, or even a quarter-final, that is football.

"When you are out at the group phase it is more difficult to accept and understand. Last season they are out, and I think this season they will be out again."