Raheem Sterling’s first half strike secured a crucial victory for City on the return to Premier League action at home to Arsenal.
Named skipper for the day, the England winger struck a fine effort to ensure Pep Guardiola’s side overcame the challenge of a dogged and prepared Gunners.
It was Sterling’s fourth goal of the season and made for a satisfying night’s work for City with all-time leading scorer Sergio Aguero back in action for the first time in four months after his knee injury.
A win and we move. On to the reaction.
Pep Guardiola Reaction
“It was an important victory,” he added.
“The clean sheet was important. But it’s not the most important thing. They fought and had the desire to win.
“It was impressive against a team that has everything to be a contender to win the Premier League.
“We knew it would be a tight game, a difficult one, but for us winning games is important for the confidence and mentality.”
“It’s important Sergio comes back in condition, starts to get rhythm, avoids injuries and plays good.”
When asked whether the Argentine might stay beyond his tenth season, Pep said: “We know what he means to us. We appreciate it.
“Now he has to show, like everyone of us and me first, that we deserve to continue here, playing good and winning games.
“After that, the club and myself, we decide.
“But we don’t have any doubts about his quality. He is a player to stay until he decides because he is unique, with his numbers.
“He is important for our fans. It was four months out.
“Now he needs to start training and playing regularly and start to score goals. This is the most important thing.”
“Ederson is an incredible keeper for us,” said the City boss. “He is fantastic as a professional. He is so good.
“We expected it [when we signed him] but you never know. All the clubs in the world, when they sign a player, they expect the best of him.
“Sometimes they’re not professional enough or their mentality is not strong enough, but from day one, he has been so strong.
“Good moments and bad moments don’t affect him. He made an incredible two saves from Saka and Aubameyang.”
“Both guys, Ruben and Nathan, they don’t make mistakes,” explained Pep.
“We suffered a lot last season with the amount of mistakes we made. Still we have to improve. I have the feeling they are real defenders.
“I have to help them to build up and to create the spaces for the way we want to play. We have time to do that in training.”
Raheem Sterling Reaction
“It was not one of my better games but I am just grateful to be able to help the team,” he said. “At times in the first half, me and Sergio [Aguero] got on the ball really well in the pockets in front of their defence and took up some great positions.
“It felt like we were much more fluent and able to keep possession. To have a striker to link up with was really good.
“It’s one of them positions about being in the right place and it was perfect for me because I was there to tuck it away.”
“We dropped points early on in the season so it was important to keep on winning.
“Coming back from the international break we knew we needed a good performance and to pick up points to kick-start the season. Today’s result definitely gives us confidence.”
“They closed the pitch well and they had some good chances as well,” he admitted. “It was a tough team to play against and Mikel has them well drilled.”