Roberto Mancini wants his Manchester City players focused on Stoke challenge
Roberto Mancini knows his Manchester City players are in for a tough test at Stoke and has called for a strong referee.
Last Updated: 14/09/12 3:01pm
City could be forgiven for having one eye on their glamorous tie away to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening.
But first they must travel to the Britannia Stadium on Saturday to take on Tony Pulis's Stoke side in the Premier League.
City haven't won at Stoke in any of their last five visits at the Potters have a reputation for their robust approach that can unsettle passing sides.
And Mancini is adamant his team must focus on the difficult task ahead of them at the weekend.
"We need to think only about Stoke because we never win there," he said.
"It is a difficult pitch but it is better we have this game now than the end, like last year.
"Stoke is one of the worst pitches (grounds) in the Premier League because it is very difficult to play there. They are a strong team.
"For us, it is very difficult, but not only for us, for all the teams. It is important we try to play football like we do.
"They are very strong, they are tall, but with this kind of football they always stay in the Premier League."
The Italian is backing his players to stand up to the usual aerial assault that visiting teams are subjected to at the Britannia Stadium - if the officials ignore the vocal home support.
"We have experience for this, all our players know this game, and we know it will be a tough game," added Mancini.
"I think it is important that the referee (Mark Clattenburg) does his job."