Manchester City coach Roberto Mancini played down talk of his all-conquering team's prowess on Monday, insisting they have a long way to go to match the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona.
City tackle Napoli in Group A of the UEFAChampions League at the San Paolo stadium tomorrow knowing that a victory would see them into the knockout rounds. And although Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri claimed the Premier League leaders are almost as good as the imperious Spanish pair, his City counterpart doesn't agree.
"We have great players like Sergio [Aguero], Mario [Balotelli], Edin [Dzeko] and [David] Silva, but it's too soon to say we're close to Real Madrid and Barcelona," said Mancini. "We've only been building this team for a year-and-a-half and we've been going too fast.
"We have got to improve a lot, it's not easy to play in two different competitions. We're closer to Napoli than we are to Real or Barcelona. Napoli have a great team and a great coach and that's why it will be difficult. Like Mazzarri said, we'll try to do our best but we've still got a lot of work to do to reach the level of those teams."
City are two points ahead of Napoli in the group and face leaders Bayern Munich at home in the final group game, while Napoli will travel to Villarreal. But despite their more favourable position, Mancini says there is no chance his side will play for a draw. "It's not in our mentality to not play the game (to win) so it doesn't matter that we can also afford a draw.
"We'll try to force the game knowing that Napoli are a good team who can put us in trouble. But like Napoli we're also improving and we have to continue on our path."
However, the Italian is expecting Napoli to have a real go as even a draw would leave them needing to win their final group game in Spain to have any chance of progressing. "Right now we're in good form, but every game is difficult and we're playing twice a week," said Mancini. "This is very hard and tomorrow is so different from other games, it's the last chance for Napoli so tomorrow will be a very tough game for us."