Rob: Euro rook­ies are ready to Man up

MANCH­ESTER CITY v NAPOLI Tonight, 7.45pm – Sky Sports 2

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ROBERTO MANCINI has backed Manch­ester City’s Cham­pi­ons League new­com­ers to cope with the step up in class, claim­ing high-pres­sure games are noth­ing new to them.

City en­ter un­char­tered ter­ri­tory tonight when they be­gin their Euro­pean Cup ad­ven­ture against Napoli at the Eti­had Sta­dium.

It’s the first game of what prom­ises to be a daunt­ing group that in­cludes Ger­many’s four-time Euro cham­pi­ons Bay­ern Mu­nich and Span­ish out­fit Vil­lar­real. But, de­spite be­ing novices at this level, Mancini says he has enough play­ers who have played be­fore in the com­pe­ti­tion – and at in­ter­na­tional foot­ball – to han­dle Europe’s top cup com­pe­ti­tion.

“We have play­ers with a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence,” said the City boss.

“A lot of our play­ers have played in the Cham­pi­ons League and also played for their coun­try.

“That shows they know what to ex­pect. They can deal with the pres­sure of this game and the rest of the group.”

The book­ies make Mancini’s star-stud­ded squad favourites to make the knock­out stages – and are even out­siders to chal­lenge Barcelona’s crown.


But Mancini is re­fus­ing to look be­yond the visit of Napoli and qual­i­fy­ing from their group.

He said: “It’s our first time in the com­pe­ti­tion. We want to do the best we can do but it will be very hard as it’s a strange com­pe­ti­tion.

“In this group there are four teams that can win the group or fin­ish in fourth po­si­tion. It will be very hard for ev­ery team.

“For us it’s im­por­tant to do well in this group and our only tar­get is to go into the sec­ond stage. That’s all we are look­ing at for the mo­ment.” City might have scored goals for fun af­ter bag­ging 15 in their first four games, but Mancini says the Ital­ians can ri­val his strike­force af­ter putting his de­fence on red alert.

He added: “Napoli are a good team and this will be a very hard game.

“Edin­son Ca­vani is a fan­tas­tic striker who works for the team, but they also have Eze­quiel Lavezzi, Go­ran Pan­dev and Marek Ham­sik who are very dan­ger­ous.”

Gael Clichy, who made 42 ap­pear­ances in the com­pe­ti­tion for Arse­nal, says his team-mates won’t fear any­one.

“The con­fi­dence is there and we go into this com­pe­ti­tion with no fear,” he said.

“We want to try to get for­ward a lot and play of­fen­sive foot­ball.”

JER­MAIN MAN: De­foe (in­set) was de­lighted when he heard Spurs were sign­ing striker Em­manuel Ade­bayor

CON­FI­DENT: City boss Roberto Mancini

THREAT: Edin­son Ca­vani

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