Head coach Aitor Karanka says Middlesbrough must take belief that they can beat Manchester City into Saturday's FA Cup fourth round tie.
Premier League champions City were run close by Boro's Championship rivals Sheffield Wednesday in round three.
And Wigan, another second-tier club, accounted for Manuel Pellegrini's side in last season's competition.
Karanka told BBC Tees: "The normal thing is that they will beat us, but maybe we can beat them."
He continued: "It's not a game without pressure, if you go there without pressure you will lose for sure, concede six, seven or eight goals, and I don't want to go there thinking about enjoying it or that we will lose the game."
About 5,000 Boro fans have sold out the away allocation at the Etihad Stadium, their first visit to the venue since a 1-0 Premier League defeat in February 2009.
"This game is one they have to enjoy," Karanka added.
"It's good to remember the games against Manchester City and other big teams. I hope we can play there again as soon as possible."
Boro lie second in the Championship, a point behind leaders Bournemouth, and in perfect position to challenge for a return to the top flight after a six-year absence.
The improvement under Karanka in his 13 months in charge has lifted Boro into that position, and the prospect of facing a top manager like Pellegrini is a challenge he relishes.
"Every single game for me is a test, because I've been a manager for 14 months and I take everyone," the Spaniard continued.
"This is more than a test because you have to prepare your squad to play against one of the best in the world."