Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini shrugged off suggestions that Paris Saint-Germain have underestimated his side, while insisting the Citizens will go for the jugular in Wednesday's battle of the continent’s big spenders.
PSG counterpart Laurent Blanc had earlier admitted his relief that the French champions had avoided “ogres of European football” Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final draw.
Blanc also urged his players to resist the temptation of thinking a showdown with City represented an easy passage to the last four, as the Qatari-backed Parisians, despite their lavish expenditure, bid to reach the semi-finals for the first time.
Abu Dhabi-funded City have also found Europe a tough nut to crack, with tonight’s clash at the Parc des Princes their maiden appearance in the quarter-final, while Pellegrini understands Blanc’s relief at facing his knockout-stage novices.
“We must be clear,” said Pellegrini. “Barcelona at this moment is one of the best teams in the world. We also played Bayern and it was very difficult, but we won two and lost two.
“They are important teams who are used to this stage, so I can understand why Blanc does not want to face those teams, but I know they respect us very well. But we are not coming to Paris to try to draw 0-0. We will play the same as we always do.”
PSG, who, like City, have ploughed hundreds of millions of pounds into signing star names, have won four consecutive Ligue 1 titles and currently sit 25 points clear of second-placed Monaco, yet Blanc is still uneasy about tackling Europe’s elite.
“We were happy to avoid playing the two ogres of European football, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and you can add a third one, Real Madrid, into that,” said Blanc.
“I have the impression that people think it’s an easy draw. But I have seen so much of it that I gave them a speech yesterday saying ‘don’t listen to them, do not believe it, they know nothing about football.’
“City have a quality team with individual players who can make the difference. We’re preparing ourselves for two very difficult games.”
Pellegrini dismissed concerns over the fitness of goalkeeper Joe Hart, who is set to be restored to City’s starting line-up after missing the last two-and-a-half weeks with a calf strain sustained in last month’s Manchester derby.
“Joe worked without any problem the last day,” Pellegrini added. “You always have problems with players after an injury, but Joe has had tests and he doesn’t have any problems to play.”
The Chilean, boosted by the return of Kevin de Bruyne in Saturday’s Premier League win over Bournemouth, also confirmed that Yaya Toure is ruled out with a knee problem.