Pep Guardiola conceded that fortune had favoured Manchester City after beginning his tenure as manager with a laboured 2-1 win over Sunderland on Saturday’s Premier League opening day.
City needed an 87th-minute own goal from Sunderland debutant Paddy McNair to secure victory at the Etihad Stadium after Sergio Aguero’s fourth-minute penalty was cancelled out by Jermain Defoe.
Despite dominating possession, the hosts carved out relatively few clear-cut chances and Guardiola said the match would form part of his players’ learning process.
“We definitely deserved the victory. The first games are always difficult,” he told BT Sport.
“We spoke during this week about what we had to do like a team and we did it. Sometimes, you are a little lucky.
“We should have been a bit more aggressive, but these kind of things have to happen to know how to get better in the next game.”
Guardiola raised eyebrows by starting reserve goalkeeper Willy Caballero in place of Joe Hart, whose future at the club is in doubt.
“This was a surprise for me,” Caballero told BT Sport.
“I’ve been training well in pre-season and to have this opportunity to play, I tried to enjoy it today.”
Asked if he expected Hart to fight for his place, Guardiola said: “Of course. They are professionals and are going to fight for their place.”
Sunderland manager David Moyes, who succeeded Sam Allardyce last month, expressed frustration that his side had not been able to hold on for a point.
“It was disappointing that we backed off Jesus Navas and allowed the ball to be played across the six-yard box (for McNair’s own goal),” Moyes said.
“From there it was always going to be difficult to avoid a goal or an own goal.
“I can’t be critical of the players because they did a great job all round really, but I am disappointed we didn’t get a point.”