Manchester City may have returned to the top of the Premier League table with a five-goal victory, but Roberto Mancini insisted that his side must improve if they are to beat Real Madrid.
With just two points from four Champions League matches, Mancini concedes the only reason his team are still in with a chance of progressing to the knock-out phase is that football is "strange like goalkeepers". Despite their rampant 5-0 win over Aston Villa that took them to the top of the Premier League for the first time this season, Europe has again been chastening for Mancini, right. City must beat Real and then win in Dortmund to stand any chance of qualification.
The task was underlined further by Real's 5-1 win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday night.
"They are one of the best teams in the world. To beat them we will have to give a perfect performance," Mancini, pictured, said. "We will have to play even better than we did against Aston Villa.
"If you have players who have won World Cups, like [David] Silva – or won everything like Yaya [Touré] – then playing against Real Madrid is the essence of football."
Saturday's win was the first time City have scored more than three goals in a game this season, something they had managed five times by this stage a year ago when they looked unstoppable.
Mancini's strikers had managed just seven league goals between them before last weekend's 2-1 win over Tottenham but that tally now stands at 13, thanks to Sergio Aguero and Tevez scoring twice each against Villa.
After returning from a hamstring problem last weekend, Silva looked to be the creative talent the Premier League has learned to take for granted, and he prodded the hosts ahead just before the break.
When Andreas Weimann was wrongly penalised for handball, Aguero scored from the penalty spot, and Tevez added another penalty before Aguero burst through and thumped a deflected shot past Brad Guzan. Tevez tapped home the fifth from Samir Nasri's cross.
After being left out of the squad for the win over Spurs, Mario Balotelli missed out once again due to a back problem sustained in training on Friday.
"I don't think he was here," Mancini added. I think he was in his bed because he had a problem. If he trains and trains well then he can be part of the squad against Madrid."