FOOTBALL: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini said today that his team need to get their act together quickly if they are to qualify for the Champions League knockout rounds.
The English champions suffered a painful last-gasp defeat to Real Madrid on matchday one and will look to bounce back tomorrow night when they host Borussia Dortmund at Eastlands.
The Germans began their campaign with a 1-0 win over Ajax, so City are under pressure to take three points in order to avoid a repeat of last season's embarrassing first-round exit.
Mancini believes his side have what it takes to win the competition outright, but conversely understands that another early exit is a possibility if his side fail to fire soon.
"This is the second year for us in the Champions League and the second year that we got the worst group," Mancini said.
"Like we have improved (over the years) in the Premier League, we need time to improve in the Champions League, but we don't have a lot of time - only five more games, and we need to improve quickly.
"We need to not concede easy goals to drop points like we did against Real Madrid. If we want to go through, we need to improve very quickly."
Mancini will be acutely aware that City's flushed owners will not tolerate another early exit from European club football's premier competition.
Mancini struggled to make an impact in the competition when manager of Inter Milan, despite landing three domestic titles with the Serie A club.
Such a back story, as well as City's flop last term, has prompted questions over whether it is Mancini, as much as his players, who needs to adapt to life in the Champions League.
The Italian bristled when given a reminder of his struggles today. "I don't need to learn," he said.
"The Champions League is a difficult competition, but football is the same. It doesn't change - it is still 11 players against 11.
"The problem is that you are always playing against the best team from another country and every game is difficult.
"I hope I can improve my record in the Champions League and I think we have arrived at the time where we can win the Champions League."
City can welcome back Jack Rodwell (groin) for Wednesday's match, though full-backs Maicon (heel) and Micah Richards (ankle) remain sidelined.
It is unclear whether Mancini will recall central defender Joleon Lescott, who sat out both the defeat to Real Madrid and the win over Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
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