Pep Guardiola said Manchester City "felt the pressure" of expectancy in the Champions League as they needed Phil Foden's 90th minute winner to take a slender 2-1 lead from the first leg of their quarter-final tie against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.
City have now won 27 of their last 28 games in all competitions to remain on course for a historic quadruple of Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup.
But they have failed to get beyond the last eight in the Champions League in each of the Guardiola's four previous seasons in charge.
"We felt the pressure today, in this competition, at home, not knowing how we would react," said Guardiola.
"It's better to win than draw but even at 1-1 we had 90 minutes to do it."
The sides will meet again in Germany on April 14 with the winners facing Bayern Munich or Paris Saint-Germain in the last four.
Dortmund are at serious risk of missing out on the Champions League next season after slipping seven points adrift of the top four in the Bundesliga.
However, the visitors started brightly until Emre Can gifted the ball away toRiyadMahrez and City launched a ruthless counter-attack.
De Bruyne, Foden and Mahrez exchanged passes before the Belgian tapped home from close range.
City thought they had a great chance to double their advantage moments later when Rodrigo went down under Can's challenge inside the area and referee OvidiuHategan pointed to the penalty spot. Hategan, though, rightly overturned his call on a VAR review in the first of a number of dubious decisions from the Romanian official.
His next big call ruled out a Dortmund goal when he adjudged Jude Bellingham to have fouled Ederson as he dispossessed the Brazilian and tapped into an empty net just before half-time. This time VAR could not intervene as Hategan had blown before Bellingham rolled the ball home.
"I definitely think I won the ball fairly," said the England international. "It's a bit frustrating at a time when they have so many cameras, they don't let me put the ball in the net and check it."