Spurs head to Manchester knowing victory would pull them four points clear of Manuel Pellegrini’s side in the race at the top of the Premier League.
It could prove a pivotal weekend overall too, with third-placed Arsenal, level with Tottenham on goal difference, hosting surprise leaders Leicester earlier in the day.
“To arrive at the end in the position we are and to improve our position you need to win games. But it’s not decisive,” Pochettino said. “It’s very important but it’s not the last game. I do think it is a very important game.
“They know and we know we are in a position where there are 13 games ahead, but after the next game it is 12 and we are going into the more important period in the league.”
Tottenham will take confidence from their 4-1 thrashing of City at White Hart Lane in September but they have struggled at the Etihad Stadium in recent meetings.
Their last two trips have resulted in 4-1 and 6-0 defeats and Spurs have not won at the home of the Blues since May 2010, when Peter Crouch’s header fired Harry Redknapp’s team into the Champions League.
Pochettino, however, believes his team can handle the big occasion. “We have a good balance,” he said.
“Sometimes there is a wrong perception. We only speak about the youngsters but we have a lot of experienced players — Hugo Lloris, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, Danny Rose, Michel Vorm — players that have experience in the Premier League.
“We have younger players as well but we don’t just have energy from the young players. We have a good mix and we need to give the credit to the senior players too.”
Jan Vertonghen and Clinton Njie will both miss Sunday’s match with knee injuries but in-form midfielder Dele Alli is fit to play.
Alli was named on the bench for the win over Watford last weekend after feeling dizzy against Norwich, but the 19-year-old is expected to start this weekend.