City fought back to earn a draw in the corresponding fixture last season after Peter Crouch's memorable strike gave the Potters the lead.
Despite going on to clinch the title, the two points dropped at the time felt like a hammer blow to Mancini's hopes of winning the title, and so he is pleased the fixture isn't in the title run-in this time around.
Mancini told reporters: "We need to think only about Stoke because we never win there - 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 [grounds] in the Premier League because it is very difficult to play there. They are a strong team."
The 47-year-old didn't criticise Stoke's approach to the game, instead insisting it's down to his team to use their experience to adapt to that difficult style.
He continued: "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.
"I think that they have good players because this year they have changed, they have brought in good players.
"They are very strong, they are tall, but with this kind of football they stay always in the Premier League.
"For them, this is important. They have good players with experience.
"We have experience for this, all our players know this game, and we know it will be a tough game."