Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo did not waver from his stance of insisting Harry Kane can still help his side this season, while Son Heung-min refused to make a promise over his goalscoring output.
The pre-match discourse was dominated by whether club captain Kane would feature against the side he has been linked with joining. Kane was absent from the matchday squad entirely, though Tottenham proved there will be life after Kane should he ultimately leave this summer.
After withstanding an early spell of pressure, Spurs grew into the contest and always looked a threat on the counter.
Son put the hosts in front after the break when proving too much for Nathan Ake to handle, and from that point on, it was up to the defenders to maintain their lead.
Each of the back four stood up tall, with Japhet Tanganga in particular putting in a tremendous display to curb the attacking talents of Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Nuno said: “It was good I think. The atmosphere was special off the hard work of the boys. They make any crowd proud when they work so hard.
“It was strong. We were lucky because they had chances but the boys held on and they stayed in the game. We knew it would be tough. After that first 20 minutes we did better and we started getting our chances. In the first half we didn’t finish so good. When we should have shot on goal we didn’t do it.
“Not only him [Japhet Tanganga]. In terms of shape and our organisation the front three worked very hard and closed the gaps.
Japhet Tanganga's game by numbers vs. Man City:
100% long ball accuracy
90% pass accuracy
4 duels won
4 fouls committed
No way past. ⛔ pic.twitter.com/Xo67Ngrgii
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 15, 2021
“It’s very difficult to play against City with the way they build the first moment. It requires a lot of discipline so the boys did okay.
“I’m sure that with commitment and the talent we have, we will be a good team. We are in the process of that. I am learning every day and I am very proud of them today, very proud.”
Regarding the ongoing speculation surrounding Kane after being omitted from the squad, Nuno concluded: “Look, Harry Kane is one of the best players in the world, honestly.
“We are very lucky to have him. He has to get ready and help the team. We still have to go to Portugal then we think about Wolves.”
Son refuses to make promise
Matchwinner Son also spoke to the press, telling Sky Sports: “Obviously we wanted to start well in the first game of the season and with the fans.
“It was an incredible performance and everyone worked so hard to get these three points. Manchester City are currently the best team in the world so we fought for the three points and it means a lot to us at the start of the season.
“It’s a great evening. We have missed the fans. Football is all about the fans. We played for them and support them. They meant a lot for me and for us. I am grateful they come to the stadium and support us. I really enjoyed this afternoon.
“We did a great job, we know Manchester City is one of the best teams in the world so we prepared really well. We worked hard in pre-season and we showed that on the pitch. The fans saw we are dangerous so it was a really good game.”
On whether he can top his own personal goals tally of 17 in the league – something that would likely be made easier by playing in Kane’s usual centre-forward position – the South Korean said: “There is no promise.
“I will try to do my best game-by-game. I will try to play for the team. The individual results will come automatically. We will see at the end of the season if I beat this record or not.”
Regarding the Kane transfer saga, Son concluded: “We are all professional. We wanted to focus on this game no matter who is involved or not.
“Obviously Harry is so, so important for us. But let’s see. Last season we didn’t start well against Everton so we started well. I just want to enjoy this afterwards.”