Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho says he is bemused by Manchester City’s ill-fated Champions League campaign.
The Premier League champions have just two points with four games played and will need to beat Real and Borussia Dortmund in their final two matches to keep their slim qualification hopes alive.
But Mourinho, whose side face City at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, believes Roberto Mancini’s men will struggle to get through even should they get those results, a situation which he says is unusual.
“I don’t think it’s normal when you’re out of the competition at a very early stage,” Mourinho told reporters.
“I speak for myself. If Real Madrid loses a final or a semi-final or a quarter-final, that’s football. When you are out at the group phase, it’s more difficult to accept and to understand.
“Last season City were out in the group phase. I think this season they will be out again. I think they can win on Wednesday, of course, and I think they can win in Dortmund, but eight points is not enough.
“I think they’re out for the second consecutive time, so that must be difficult for them.”
The Portuguese, who enjoyed a trophy-laden spell with Chelsea between 2004 and 2007, went on to express excitement over returning to England.
“I was looking forward to coming back to England,” he said.
“I never hide my feelings, even when it means sadness for many people. I admire England, there are tough opponents, but I enjoy the games and the atmosphere.
“I always said how much I loved my time here and I always like to be back. I know when you play in England you have difficult matches, difficult opponents, difficult atmosphere, because the crowd is always very strong behind the team, but I like that.
“I enjoy that and I think also my players are happy to play in England.”