Captain Vincent Kompany believes Manchester City have proved their champion team spirit remains intact.
City needed to come from behind against promoted Southampton to get their Barclays Premier League title defence off to a winning start in their season opener at the Etihad Stadium. The 3-2 success may not have seen City at their most destructive but Kompany felt it was a performance full of the qualities which yielded a first league title in 44 years.
The 26-year-old told City TV: "I don't even need to say it loudly. Last season proved how crucial it [team spirit] was for us, in the last games. We showed we wanted it as much. It doesn't matter if we have our best game or our worst game, we just keep going."
He added: "We have always proved to be very difficult to beat at home. Maybe we will just get belief out of this. Maybe that is why we always keep coming back and it never seems to be finished.
"As much as I can say we have a lot to improve on still, I can also say we can really all be happy because of great qualities of character."
City, who were unbeaten at home in the league last season, missed an early penalty but led at the break through Carlos Tevez.
Saints hit back with goals from Rickie Lambert and Steven Davis but City recovered in the final 18 minutes as Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri struck.
Kompany said: "If everything had gone to plan we would have scored two or three goals before they even got their first.
"We missed a few chances and they used the one opportunity they had very well and the game became very difficult, but I am very happy about the reaction of the team. That is what we needed to see.
"Therefore we are very happy with the win and the result. We have to respect Southampton, they played really well. It is a good result for us."