Despite a late scare from Jermain Defoe, Pep Guardiola would have been encouraged by his new side's performance.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola
New manager Pep Guardiola enjoyed a winning start to life at the Etihad as Manchester City overcame a a resilient Sunderland side to win 2-1.
Sergio Aguero had the chance to open his account early on when Patrick Van Aanholt tripped Raheem Sterling in the box. Making no mistake, the Argentine scored from the spot.
Despite City's dominance they were unable to seal a second, and were dually punished when Jermain Defoe popped up to punish them, finishing off a fine Sunderland move with 15 minutes to go.
As the hosts pushed for a winner, they were awarded for their persistence with three minutes to go. Coming on to make his debut just minutes before, ex-Manchester United defender misguided the ball into his net.
It was a deserved win for City, who despite all their possession, looked a tad short for ideas in the final third. However, it was the first game under the new philosophy and much would have been learned.
No love for Joe Hart
One of the finest servants to Manchester City in the recent era, England's number one goalkeeper had to settle for a place on the bench under Pep.
Guardiola joins City having spent three years working with the best keeper in the world, Bayern's Manuel Neuer. The German plays as a sweeper and is often responsible for recycling the possession.
Evidently, the new boss must feel that Joe Hart is lacking in some of the qualities needed to perform this role, instead picking Willy Cabellero.
However, Cabellero did not convince in this role. He picked out Sunderland's Duncan Watmore with a point-point pass early on and many of his balls to the full-backs were shaky.
The sweeper keeper is not the sole idea that Pep brought to City.
He likes his team to build every transition from the back, with the central defenders offering width and the full-backs pushing high, as the defensive midfielder drops back, almost as a third centre back.
City did this impeccably against Sunderland, with Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna in amongst most of the action, as there average positions almost had them down as central midfielders.
They did, though, lack quality with their final ball as they lacked a certain element of composure.
Raheem Sterling has had to deal with plenty of criticism over the past few months, and deservedly so.
He lost his place in the City XI last season and failed to impress for England at Euro 2016.
Yet there be will no ammunition for criticism after his performance against Sunderland. He started on the right and won the early penalty after some skill tricked Van Aanholt.
And after swapping to the left to accommodate Jesus Navas, he tormented debutant Donald Love for the rest of the match.
City fans, along with Pep, will be hoping he can find some form that led to City paying £44 million for him two years ago.
Stones leaves holes
John Stones will have enjoyed large-parts of his City debut as the £47 million signing was plunged straight into the starting XI.
In a team that is so attack-minded, his ability to pick out a pass and play football is the fundamental factor why he was signed from Everton.
However, he is a defender and he must learn to defend. Stones closed down Fabio Borini when he should have held his line, allowing space for Jermain Defoe to find, leading to the equaliser.
He will enjoy his time at City not having to defend much. Though his decision making when in defence is something he could brush up on.
Same Defoe, different day
On the losing side against City, Jermain Defoe's goals will be crucial to Sunderland this season.
Quiet for long periods, he used his nous to find the space in behind John Stones to grab the equaliser as he cooly slotted beneath the onrushing Cabellero.
His 144th Premier League goal, he joins Robin Van Persie in 10th on the list of the division's top scorers.
It was also the 16th season is succession that he has scored in the Premier League, having played for West Ham, Spurs and Portsmouth previously.
And how fitting that he marked his 50th Premier League for Sunderland with his 20th goal for them. Not a bad return for a 33-year-old.