Yaya Toure could well be one of Guardiola's most important players - and it may well be age that makes him so suitable to this deep, holding role.
"Last season we were favourites too", said Guardiola.
Taking inspiration from his former club Mainz's survival in Germany, Wagner said: "Mainz were promoted and got established in the Bundesliga". After that, Chelsea killed us.
Back in June, Guardiola said in an interview with El Matí de Catalunya Radio, "There's an English kid, Phil Foden, that looks great". Whether we are favourites or not is your job to say, not ours. What I can not control doesn't matter. But I am used to that. The big teams have to handle all situations.
"Last season we were third and people said it was a disaster". Last season we were a humble team and an honest team. We were not able with those players to find a solution. "We are going to see at the end of the season what happens, knowing how hard it is". "If not, then next season".
After a goalless first 45 minutes, City's superior quality eventually told with Sergio Aguero breaking the deadlock on 70 minutes and an own goal from Lewis Dunk sealing the three points five minutes later.
That was a relief after the uncertain starts made by title rivals Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea, and his new three-man defence was seldom in difficulty.
As a result the 46-year-old boss is under pressure to win something this season and Distin believes if the club can fix its defensive problems they are contenders for the title.
"It's hard but we did it. We have to win the games that we can do". "This is a summer town so throughout the winter we are going to get thousands of away supporters and many others here, so that will only help".
"I think they will be absolutely right up there".
"It was a tough game and a tough introduction into the Premier League, but we know we aren't going to be facing teams like that every week", he said.
"We try to make a good build-up, try to do high pressing, monopolise the ball, move the team through the ball, attack outside and inside".
The visitors responded with Gabriel Jesus, David Silva and Aguero all coming close to scoring. And that is the first step to creating something.
"We can not forget that when we do something better than last season it's because we've been one year together".
Where in past Toure would have been desperate to burst from box-to-box and cause havoc in the final third, his mental attributes (vision and anticipation etc) make him ideal for a deep playmaker, or pivot - something Guardiola has always valued highly.
Today's match could be Albion's first top flight game with an attendance in excess of 30,000 fans. When you are playing Champions League quality teams, you know that they can hurt you.