RM: City can handle pressure

City make their eagerly-anticipated first appearance in Europe’s
elite club competition on Wednesday as they host Italian side
Napoli, who finished third in Serie A last season. With German
giants Bayern Munich and Spaniards Villarreal also alongside them
in Group A, Mancini believes his side have their work cut out
despite their outstanding form this season. The Italian said: “I
think it is an exciting day for the club. “To play in the Champions
League after many years is very important, it is a special day.
“But I think we took the harder route in the Champions League. “In
this group there are four teams who can win the group or finish in
fourth position. It will be very hard for every team.” Few teams
can have entered the Champions League for the first time with so
much expected of them. After three years of heavy investment, City
are on a mission to establish themselves as one of the continent’s
top clubs and their performances this term suggest they can make a
big impact. Mancini is comfortable with such expectation and, with
plenty of Champions League experience in his squad, does not
believe players will be burdened by pressure either. He said: “I
think this is normal for us. “Now Manchester City are one of the
best teams in England and Europe. “For us it will be very important
to do our job very well in this group. “Tomorrow is the first game
– the first game is always a difficult game. “Napoli are a good
team, last year they did very well in the Italian championship.
“Several of their players have been capped for their national teams
and (Walter) Mazzarri is a very experienced manager. “I expect
Napoli to be a challenge but a lot of our players have played in
the Champions League and I don’t think they will feel pressure for
this game.” Aside from the excitement surrounding City’s entrance
to the competition, tomorrow’s match should also be poignant for
Mancini. The 46-year-old won three Serie A titles in charge of
Inter Milan but could not land the Champions League. He now has the
chance to impress again in front of an Italian audience. On an even
more personal level, his father is attending the game. He said: “It
is a special moment, also because Naples for me was really
important when I played. “To start a Champions League game against
an Italian team is a special moment.” After making a flying start
in the Premier League, winning all four of their games and scoring
15 goals, City should not be short of confidence. David Silva,
Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko are in fearsome form while last
season’s top scorer and hero Carlos Tevez is pushing for a place.
Despite training today midfielders Gareth Barry and James Milner
are both doubtful, however, and will be assessed tomorrow morning.
Barry suffered an ankle injury on international duty last week
while Milner was concussed in Saturday’s win over Wigan. Mario
Balotelli is suspended after being sent off against Dynamo Kiev in
the Europa League last season while Nigel de Jong is still out with
a foot injury. City enter the competition with high hopes but
Mancini does not want to look too far ahead. He said: “Our target
for now is to get to the second stage. “It is important tomorrow we
start well in the group. “We want to do the best we can do but it
will be very hard because the Champions League is a strange
competition. It is difficult to say where we could arrive. “We want
to go to the second stage. After that we can talk in February.”