Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has labelled his side’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Manchester City as the biggest of his managerial career.
Spurs were faced with arguably the toughest draw possible when they were paired with Pep Guardiola’s side, who are still in the hunt for the quadruple this season.
They play the first of three matches in 11 days against City on Tuesday in what is only the second game at their new stadium.
The Argentinian, who has overseen wins against Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund and draws against Juventus and Barcelona in this competition over the last two years, accepts that City are the better team.
Asked if this was the biggest moment of his career, he replied: “Yes, as a coach.
“Yes, it’s going to be one of the most important games. For us, it’s a bonus to have the opportunity to play in the quarter-finals with all the circumstances.
“We respect Manchester City a lot, we know very well it’s going to be tough.
“It’s so easy to play and prepare and the problem is after delivering.
“City have unbelievable players. It’s going to be tough. We’re playing in the quarter-finals and the big players, the big teams love to play this type of game.
“We need to be sure to match their motivation and desire. The thing we cannot match is talent inside the pitch.
“And then it’s 11 v 11 players and we hope my team is going to be better than them.
“I know, and he (Guardiola) knows, we’re brave, we like to go forward, be aggressive, be protagonists.
“The quality of the players on the pitch is going to put the victory on Guardiola’s side but we’re going to try to be protagonists and beat them.”
Son Heung-min believes Kevin De Bruyne does not understand what it means for Spurs to play at home again after the City midfielder said he “does not care” about their new stadium.
De Bruyne suggested that Spurs will gain no advantage from playing there, saying: “Everybody talks about the stadium like it’s something special. Everybody has a stadium, everybody has supporters.”
But Spurs’ return to N17 has been long-awaited, ending a near two-year commute to play at Wembley while their new home was built.
The noise levels were extraordinary during the opening game against Crystal Palace last week and Son has vowed to ensure City see that it will not be like a game at the national stadium.
“Of course (the atmosphere can help),” he said. “Maybe the City players don’t realise, they always play at home.
“We’ve been nearly two years away from our home stadium and what we did was very positive.
“We missed home a lot and we can show them tomorrow night it’s different from Wembley at our new stadium.”