Roberto Mancini looking forward to Real Madrid clash
Sunday 16 September 2012
Manchester City will now turn their attention to Tuesday's mouth-watering clash with Real Madrid after surviving their traditionally tricky trip to Stoke relatively unscathed.
Last season's Barclays Premier League champions had to settle for a 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium yesterday after conceding a controversial goal and being frustrated in their late efforts to snatch a winner.
But with their three previous league visits to Stoke also ending with the same scoreline, manager Roberto Mancini was reasonably satisfied with a point that maintains an unbeaten start to the season.
The focus can now shift to the Bernabeu Stadium, and the latest attempt to muscle in among the European elite, without the hangover of a disappointing domestic result.
Mancini said: "Real Madrid are one of the best teams in the world.
"To play the first game away will be very tough but at the same time I think it will be a fantastic game for everyone."
Last season's top scorer Sergio Aguero, who was linked with Real earlier this year, could return to action in Spain after a month on the sidelines.
Aguero suffered a knee injury in the opening league game against Southampton but is now back in training, although he was not risked at Stoke.
When asked if the Argentinian could be available, Mancini said: "Sergio has had one week working with the team, I think so."
City were the stronger team at the Britannia but were left with work to do after Peter Crouch again put the Potters ahead in the 15th minute.
But the strike had little in common with his stunning volley in last season's contest between the two sides, as Crouch got away with a clear handball before touching home from close range.
City got their equaliser when debutant Javi Garcia was allowed a free header at a set-piece 20 minutes later and applied considerable pressure in the latter stages.
Yaya Toure forced Asmir Begovic into a fine save before the goalkeeper did even better to push a last-minute Garcia header onto the post.
There was still time for Edin Dzeko to lob Begovic but Ryan Shawcross got back to clear off the line.
Another of Mancini's new signings, Scott Sinclair, told City TV: "It is a difficult place to come, it's a different sort of football.
"They don't really pass it around, they have a lot of big guys winning headers and the ball is in the air.
"We have got to adapt to that and it is a bit disappointing we didn't get the three points.
"But we have got the point and we can push forward and look forward to the Bernabeu."
Deadline-day signings Sinclair, Garcia and Maicon all made their debuts while another new recruit, veteran goalkeeper Richard Wright, was on the bench.
Sinclair, 23, made his name with Swansea and is now relishing the opportunity to move up to the next level with City.
The winger said: "I'm just settling now and hopefully I can progress game by game.
"I'd been waiting around and it was a long, stressful few weeks before signing but that's all gone now and I'm here and just looking to improve.
"Obviously there are a few other new players in. Everyone's just looking to settle in, get a feel for all the lads.
"Hopefully now we can keep progressing."
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