Roberto Mancini talked up the possibility of a major power shift taking place at the Santiago Bernabeu tonight, with his Manchester City side now fully equipped to play in European football's fast lane.
Just as his opposite number at Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho, was casting doubt on the hunger of his players, Mancini said: "If you drive a Ferrari you can win. We used to drive a Fiat Cinquecento and then it's not so easy; now we are driving a Ferrari."
The Real Madrid coach was in far less effusive mood, admitting City would win what he referred to as "the big cup" – the Champions League – one day and expressed concerns over facing them in this season's first group match in the competition tonight, after what he called an "awful performance" from his side at the weekend.
"I can't compare the natural talent of my team at Inter with the natural talent here at Real Madrid but I also can't compare the hunger of my team at Inter with my team here," said the former Internazionale manager just 48 hours after savaging his players as they fell to their second defeat in the first four games of the season.
Mancini has no such motivational problems ahead of his second Champions League campaign. He even has a fully focused Carlos Tevez, who at this time last season threw his infamous touchline tantrum by refusing to warm up against Bayern Munich.
Mancini was asked what advice he might give Mourinho in dealing with a "sad" Cristiano Ronaldo. He joked: "If he wants to win La Liga again, maybe he should send Cristiano to Portugal for six months and maybe he can win it for a second time!"
Despite Ronaldo's complaints, Mourinho has other concerns with what he sees as a dressing room lacking the edge of previous seasons. "We have all won things, we have all had success in our careers," he said. "We all have the economic and professional stability and so there should be no need to wait to see how people react. We should be the first ones to motivate ourselves. No one puts pressure on me because I am the one who applies the pressure. No one motivates me. I am the one who motivates myself. I am the one who criticises myself when I am not performing as I should be and that is the way it should be."
He praised the job done by Mancini, although he stopped short of saying City could win the Champions League this season. "Roberto comes in and does good work spending more money," said Mourinho. "I don't know if they can take it forward from here, but normally things will continue in the same direction and sooner or later they will win the big cup."Reuse content