Roberto Mancini has told his Manchester City players they must deliver a performance better than the one they produced in the victory against Chelsea if they are to enjoy their trip to the seaside today.
Either Mancini was the victim of a wind-up or he had his tongue stuck firmly in cheek when he claimed today's visit to Blackpool had been likened to a day out in Rimini. Yet he was being deadly serious when he assessed the challenge that lies ahead.
Ian Holloway's men may have taken a couple of batterings already, but so far their debut Premier League season has gone far better than anticipated.
"I have watched Blackpool three or four times and this will be a very tough game," Mancini said. "I have a lot of respect for them. If we want to win there we must play better than we did against Chelsea [a 1-0 home win]."
Mancini has a lot of admiration for the positive approach Holloway has ensured his side adopt, even on the toughest of away days.
"They play good football," said Mancini. "What I like is that they don't just defend and wait for something to happen just because they don't want to concede a goal.
"They play in a different way because they want to score. That is a good thing for the manager. And the manager is good anyway."
Holloway described City's visit as probably "the biggest mismatch in the history of football".
"They've got fantastically wealthy owners, they were the biggest spenders by a mile this summer and they're hoping that will buy them all sorts of success and trophies," said Holloway.
"And then there's us trying to stay in the division and trying to hang on to our new-found heights. To me it's just one team against another, but from an outsider's point of view, it probably is the biggest mismatch in the history of football."
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