Mowbray admits Boro will need to work hard to keep the European champions at bay but is also aware they cannot concentrate solely on defending if they are to book a quarter-final trip to Manchester United.
He said: "When you haven't got world-class players, you have to first and foremost have a work ethic. You have to try to condense space, you have to try not to be isolated one-on-one in certain areas of the pitch.
"And yet, you have to balance that off with having an attacking threat. You have to have a way of trying to score a goal and if you have everybody back, it's very unlikely you are going to have too many attempts. That's the balance for any manager.
"Watching Manchester City at the weekend, it was 'You have an attack, we have an attack and see how can hurt the opposition the most'.
"I would have to say, we won't be playing like that because I doubt we are going to leave three up front and wait for our defence to give it back to them and we attack them and they all run back.
"That's the difference. Athletically, we have to cover more ground than they do. They can rely more on their technique and their talent to pick the right pass."