Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini felt his team had done their job after claiming a laboured 2-0 win over promoted Hull.
After suffering a shock loss at Cardiff last week, City were again troubled by one of the competition’s newcomers but eventually ground out victory with two second-half goals.
Alvaro Negredo came off the bench to break the deadlock in the 64th minute and Yaya Toure made the result certain with a late free-kick.
City failed to reproduce the brilliance of their season-opening demolition of Newcastle but Pellegrini was happy enough.
The Chilean said: “First of all, the most important thing is the points. In our friendly matches in pre-season we tried to work on different things but, when we start the Premier League, the most important thing is to win the three points. I am very happy with the win but of course I think we must improve. But I know the Premier League is very difficult every match.”
Negredo, signed from Sevilla for £20 million, has made a positive impression, having a goal disallowed against Newcastle and then finding the target at Cardiff before his effort against Hull.
Pellegrini said: “I expect from Alvaro Negredo exactly what we are seeing every time he plays.
“I know how good a striker he is. With Alvaro and Edin [Dzeko] we have two very good strikers and we need both of them.”
City broke the deadlock in the 64th minute when Zabaleta got behind the defence and whipped an inviting cross for Negredo, who moved into space and leapt high to plant a firm header past Scotland keeper Allan McGregor.
The points were safe in the final minute when substitute Samir Nasri was fouled on the edge of the box and Toure stepped up to curl in a superb free-kick.
Hull boss Steve Bruce was pleased with his side’s resilient display but was also left to rue the Tigers’ bad luck.
Sone Aluko squandered a glorious chance to open the scoring in the early stages and Danny Graham had a good strike ruled out for offside.
Bruce said: “We are going to be rightly disappointed with the scoreline but I am immensely pleased with the way we played and the way we took them on. We couldn’t have asked for anything more.”