The underperforming English champions are last in Group D after collecting just two points from four matches.
City striker Carlos Tevez says “we only started playing in the competition last year so you need a bit of patience ... we know it will be difficult but you just have to keep on fighting until the end.’’
Having yet to win a match in Group D, City are rock bottom with two points, yet victories over Real and in their final match away to group leaders Borussia Dortmund could see them squeeze into the last 16, depending on results elsewhere.
Real Madrid can advance with a game to spare by beating City. Real is a point behind leader Borussia Dortmund, which plays Ajax. Mancini will make a late decision on whether striker Mario Balotelli’s back has recovered to face Madrid.
“Yesterday he trained with the physio and tomorrow and today he will train with the team and we will see if he can play,’’ Mancini said.
Real star Cristiano Ronaldo will be playing in Manchester for the first time since leaving United in 2009.
City striker Sergio Aguero has an added incentive to help his side’s slim chances. “It’s always special to play against a club like Real Madrid. Personally, my connection with Atletico Madrid gives it an additional kick — but there’s no difference in how much I want to win this match,” Aguero said.
For some City players the last two Group D matches could now only be a matter of pride.
“Unlikely as it is that we will go through, we want to win our remaining two games and give ourselves at least half a chance,” City winger James Milner said. “And if that’s not good enough, at least we can finish with our heads held high.”
No room for error
Arsenal are buzzing after their resounding victory over north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur but they go into Wednesday’s Champions League home clash with Montpellier aware that any slip could be costly to their last 16 hopes.
Before the 5-2 rout of Tottenham on Saturday the Gunners were under fire after some patchy form including a 2-1 away defeat at Manchester United, a 3-3 home draw with Fulham and a 2-0 home reverse against Schalke in the Champions League.
The defeat by Schalke was Arsenal’s first at home to foreign opponents since 2003 but they drew 2-2 with the Germans the following week. Having conceded 14 goals in their last five games in all competitions, however, there remains an air of vulnerability about Arsenal which French champions Montpellier, despite being unable to progress, will be keen to exploit.
Victory for Arsenal, their first at home against French opposition in the Champions League, combined with a Schalke defeat of Olympiakos will see Arsene Wenger’s side through to the knockout rounds for the 13th season in succession.
Any other combination of results will mean Arsenal, a point behind Schalke and a point ahead of Olympiakos, could still face a nervy deciding night in Athens on December 4.