Glass half full: When you have been out of the top flight as long as Brighton have the prospect of doing battle with the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal is enough of an incentive on its own.
What Pep Guardiola has really bought himself is options, with three debutants in the starting XI and a further 206 million pounds' worth of talent on the bench.
"There are a lot of positives to take out of this game, building on what we did in preseason".
No wonder Guardiola was so relieved at the start of his second season in charge.
"The first game (of the season) is always complicated, especially with what happened this weekend".
"We were stable. We controlled the game and the game was in our hands". From my experience, even in Barcelona, too.
Brighton, though, was successfully repelling City's potent strike force until a costly lapse.
Kevin De Bruyne appealed for a penalty when his shot struck the arm of Dunk, but referee Oliver shook his head. The loose ball falls to Duffy who smashes it towards goal, but it goes inches wide of the post.
The elevation took them back to the top division of English football for the first time since 1983 and brought an end to a dark period in their history that had seen them fall as low as the fourth tier.
"They had chances, both of them, but of course we need goals", said Guardiola.More news: West Ham United in a better place than last season
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"We needed to do that because it was one of the oldest teams in Europe".
"We had to be patient, in the first half they were well organised, we could see they had a clear game plan", Kompany told BT Sport.
Brighton have been made one of the favourites with bookies for an immediate return to the Championship and Hughton admits that is something which he'll use to motivate his team: "What you have to do is use every opportunity you can to motivate the players".
"It is not easy to attack 10 players there", Guardiola said.
The Etihad club finished third last season, 15 points behind winners Chelsea.
Guardiola, though, is cautious.
"Okay, we accept what the people say, we have to try to improve and improve".
Guardiola also gave debuts to Kyle Walker and Danilo and Walker's pace gave the home side early jitters as he advanced down the right before cutting back a risky cross that Brighton cleared with difficulty.
City had the ball in Brighton's net after 27 minutes, but it was disallowed. The south coast side plummeted into the fourth tier and came close to dropping out of the professional leagues two decades ago before the ascent to the world's richest league began.