Manuel Pellegrini has claimed that Manchester City are now bigger than Manchester United, with the manager believing that knocking Barcelona out of the Champions League would be a defining moment in the club's evolution.
Pellegrini said: "If we only consider this season, there is just one club in Manchester and it's ours but you cannot forget what United has done in the previous years.
"We are aiming to keep growing by winning trophies – not just national but international trophies. We are fighting for four titles this year. We have to be patient because you cannot change the team from one day to another. We have to keep the philosophy of the style and for that you need time."
Speaking Spanish, Pellegrini's answer regarding City and United was actually given by the Uefa translator as: "The biggest team is City now but we cannot forget the last few years." Yet the Chilean, who speaks good English and was sat next to the translator, did not object to her interpretation.
The meeting against the side led by the four-times player of the year, Lionel Messi, indicates the rise of the club owned by the billionaire Sheikh Mansour since September 2009.
Pellegrini was asked how important defeating Barcelona would be in City's drive to establish themselves among the elite. "It is a good test," he said. "It is important. I don't think it is the most important thing because we are just in the round of 16. We can beat Barcelona and maybe in the next round you can have defeat. This club is trying to develop those areas.
"So far we have a good season and we must finish that way. One or our targets is to continue in the Champions League knowing we play against [and beat] the most important club in the world."
He confirmed that Fernandinho is in the squad, though Sergio Agüero is unavailable owing to injury.