Pep Guardiola insists Real Madrid’s exit does not make Manchester City’s task in the Champions League any easier.
The holders were surprisingly eliminated by Ajax at the last-16 stage last week, while another fancied side in Paris St Germain were also beaten.
But Guardiola, who maintains his team are still a junior outfit in European terms, says that does not mean the competition is opening up for quadruple-chasing City.
Guardiola said: “If people think Real Madrid is out so it will be easy, it’s because they still don’t understand this competition.
“Of course, it’s incredible – four times winner in five years, three in a row.
“It’s the best team in the last decade. It’s incredible what they have done. I thought they were the favourites.
“Hopefully we can be in the quarter-finals but the teams will be of a similar level to Real Madrid because they are top.
“We are teenagers in this competition, that’s what I feel but we want to win it, we push ourselves. The best way is to feel this kind of pressure.
“We have to dream and point as high as possible. At the same time, we have to accept there are other teams thinking the same with a lot of quality and a lot of talent.”
City still have work to do to secure a quarter-final place after requiring a late fightback – with 10 men – to beat Schalke 3-2 in the first leg of their last-16 tie. The sides meet again at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
Guardiola said: “I think a week ago we didn’t expect PSG would happen, or Real Madrid.
“People say there is nothing to do but one red card, one goal in the first minute – many things can happen in 90 minutes in this kind of competition.
“I would say we are quite lucky that we played 10 v 11 for 23 or 24 minutes 2-1 down. Normally, in those circumstances today you are almost out of this competition. We were lucky, really. We still have a job to do.”
City are without suspended pair Nicolas Otamendi and Fernandinho for the second leg clash.
Both players received cards in the first meeting, although Fernandinho (groin) is injured in any case. Aymeric Laporte, who was on the bench against Watford at the weekend, could return after a hamstring injury to replace fellow centre-back Otamendi.
Another defender John Stones (groin) will be assessed, but playmaker Kevin De Bruyne (hamstring) and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo (Achilles) are out.
Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco brushed off the pressure and adopted a bullish tone ahead of his side’s daunting Champions League clash at Manchester City.
Reports in Germany have claimed Tedesco is on the brink of the sack after overseeing a dismal campaign in the Bundesliga.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference in Manchester, he said: “We got onto the plane wanting to use the small chance we’ve got as clear outsiders.
“We showed in the first leg we are capable of competing with City. We need to play better than we did in the first leg but we want to take that chance.
“The situation in the league is precarious but nevertheless we are going to try with all our effort. We deserve to be playing in the last 16 of the Champions League.”
The visiting side could feature 18-year-old Wales winger Rabbi Matondo, the City academy graduate who joined Schalke in an £11million deal in January.