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Manchester, United Kingdom – Roberto Mancini believes Manchester City's 5-0 thrashing of Aston Villa will count for nothing when they host Real Madrid in the Champions League.
City continued their unbeaten start to the defence of their Premier League title with their most emphatic display of the season at Eastlands on Saturday.
But, with just two points from their opening four Champions League group matches, their hopes of reaching the knock-out phase of Europe's elite club competition are bleak.
And Mancini, who ruled out City's chance of progressing from their group, admits facing the Spanish champions on Wednesday will be a far tougher proposition than the feeble challenge provided by struggling Villa.
“They are two different competitions and on Wednesday we play against one of the best teams in the world with a fantastic history,” Mancini said.
“We want to do a good job and we will have not much of a chance to go through but we will try.”
Mancini had been concerned about a lack of goals from his strikers but after Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko scored in the 2-1 win over Spurs, Argentina striker Aguero and his compatriot Carlos Tevez each scored twice against Villa.
City's frontmen have now scored 13 times in the league this term and Mancini hopes that can spark a goal rush for the rest of the campaign.
“I hope from the last two games we changed something,” Mancini said. “In our minds we had a period like this last year and the problem that we had in the first two months (are behind us).
“For us it's important we've started to play well and scored six goals with our strikers in the last two games and we missed the strikers scoring.
“We can do better but I hope we are starting to find the form of last season. Also against Tottenham it was like the period that we had last year.”
City goalkeeper Joe Hart has faced plenty of criticism for his recent performances, particularly in England's 4-2 defeat to Sweden in midweek.
But he pulled off two fine saves in the opening period, blocking from team-mate Vincent Kompany and Villa striker Christian Benteke.
“This is his job. What happened after the international game, this is part of our life,” Mancini said.
“Sometimes you do well and sometimes it's a bad game but it's important to have a strong character and he made important saves in the first half.”
David Silva opened the scoring with his first goal of the season and after the interval Aguero made no mistake from the penalty spot after a handball from Andreas Weimann.
Tevez also scored with a penalty after Barry Bannan handled in the area.
Aguero broke clear to thump in a fourth before Tevez tapped in a fifth goal from Samir Nasri's cross as City extended their unbeaten home run in the league to 36 games.
Despite the one-sided nature of a defeat that plunged his side into the relegation zone, Villa manager Paul Lambert is adamant they can still stay up.
“This won't hamper our progress. We will bounce back strongly,” Lambert said.
“The last few weeks the lads have given it everything they've got.
“Joe Hart made some world-class saves to keep it 0-0. We had some chances. They are a top side with fantastic players. Take nothing away from them. But I'm disappointed.
“The lads have been excellent for the last few weeks and we will continue to try and keep progressing the football club.” – Sapa-AFP