Roberto Mancini acknowledges that Manchester City will have to do something remarkable to reach the Champions League knock-out phase so it is perhaps no surprise that he has joked about enlisting the help of the police to stop Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo tomorrow night.
City, who have just two points from four matches, must beat Jose Mourinho's team at the Etihad Stadium to keep alive their chances of progressing from the group phase for the first time. Ronaldo, 27, will be returning to Manchester for the first time since he left United for Real Madrid in an £80 million deal in 2009. The Portuguese has taken his game to a new level in Spain and has scored 165 goals in just over three seasons since leaving Old Trafford.
Ronaldo's performances have been so impressive that Mancini believes the Real Madrid forward should beat Barcelona's Lionel Messi to the Ballon d'Or award next month. However, he did not enjoy good times at the Etihad Stadium as a United player, managing just one goal and two red cards in his five matches there.
But he has already managed 19 goals for Real this season, including the second equaliser as Mourinho's side twice came from behind to snatch a 3-2 victory over City in the Bernabeu in September.
It has led to Mancini considering a different approach when it comes to trying to stifle Ronaldo tomorrow evening. He joked: "We'll call the police! He's a top player and he deserves to win the Ballon D'Or. He scored so many goals last year and that helped them to finish above Barcelona. I hope he can have a bad night on Wednesday.
"When you come up against a player who can score one or two goals every game, it is difficult. It is a big night for him to be back here but for Real it's an important game.
"They still have a chance of going through to the second stage. And for Ronaldo, he's coming back to Manchester."
Edin Dzeko, left, also scored in the first group game in the Bernabeu but the Bosnian is likely to have to accept a place on the bench once again tomorrow night.
The striker, 26, has started only five games in all competitions for City this season but has come off the bench to rescue seven Premier League points with his last four goals, snatching late winners against Fulham and Tottenham, as well as scoring twice to earn a 2-1 victory at West Bromwich.
Mancini added: "He can start and play well and score. Maybe he is not quiet, not happy in this moment because he didn't start a lot of games but maybe he needs more confidence.
"And I hope that the goal he scored against Tottenham will change this. Like any player when they come on they want to prove a point to the manager. They go on the pitch very strong and want to change the game."