Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini praised his players for maintaining their concentration levels as their legs began to tire during the 2-0 win at Newcastle on Sunday.
The Premier League champions failed to keep a clean sheet during their preseason friendly campaign and lost 3-0 to Arsenal in the Community Shield, but Pellegrini was impressed with their resolve at St James' Park.
"I think the players were both hungry and humble," he told Sky Sports. "We need both those things if we are going to continue winning titles and if we want to improve on what we did last year.
"It was so important to me that the players had that attitude from the beginning to the end of the game.
"We were very solid at the back and Joe Hart didn't have any problems, and in the second half it was normal that we were starting to get tired.
"The players are not able to play 90 minutes at the moment, but we continued with our attitude and scored the second goal."
He stressed that City needed to maintain that attitude throughout the season if they were t retain their title, adding: "Always in England, in the Premier League, you have five or six teams that can win the title. We need to have the same attitude as we had today, the hunger with which we have started the season in every game.
"It's very difficult to compare each year. Maybe last year a lot of people doubted we could win the title because it was my first season here in the Premier League.
"Today, we have one year more working with the players, and I think we have also a strong squad. I am sure this squad can fight, and we will see at the end of the season which titles we will win."
Pellegrini and opposite number Alan Pardew clashed on the touchline in the corresponding fixture last year, but he said: "I don't have any problems with Alan. It was a mistake that he made the other season, but he apologised in the moment, and I told him in the same moment: 'Don't you worry about that, it's finished and all forgiven.'
"There was no problem. He had a lot of problems last year -- and not only with me. It's a new season, and everyone learns from things."
Defender Gael Clichy added: "I think we scored at the right moments, five minutes from the end of the first half, and then Sergio scored the second one when Newcastle were pushing a bit.
"I think we deserved the win, but with more luck [for Newcastle] the game would have been different. We came here to get the three points, and we deserved to."