Manchester City's manager Roberto Mancini is expecting a tough tie when they taking on FC Porto in the Europa league last-32.
After falling short in their efforts to qualify from their Champions League group, City have drawn Porto, another side who failed to emerge from their group in Europe premier club competition, in a tough looking tie for the Premier League leaders.
Two times winners of the European Cup, the Portuguese side are likely to provide a stern test, and Mancini says it was the most difficult of the draws available.
"Porto is probably the toughest game we could have,” Mancini said.
“Manchester City against Porto feels like a Champions League game. I have come up against them as a player before and also a manager, they are a very good team and a very strong club in Europe.
"They are used to playing in Europe, in a great stadium. Not too many years ago they won the Champions League and also won the Europa League last year so they are a strong team.
"It will be a hard match for us. When I looked at the teams we could face I thought Porto would be the toughest. We know this game will be difficult, but also it will be difficult for them. It is a good game for the fans, a big team coming to Manchester, and we will be looking forward to it."
Chief football administrator Brian Marwood is disappointed with the outcome.
"It's amazing - we've just played in one of the hardest groups in the Champions League and now we've got the Europa League holders," he said.
"It's a big game against attractive opposition and one we'll obviously take very seriously. We're extremely positive about the competition and and we're excited about being in it.
"We'll be going into the New Year still in four competitions and that's something we're trying to build on after winning the FA Cup last season."
If City were to overcome Porto, they would face either Legia Warsaw or Sporting Lisbon in the last-16, another tough proposition for the trophy chasing Blues.
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