The City boss made seven changes to the side that beat Everton on New Year’s Day, but it was still a team packed with quality and experience.
Winning through to the next round, however, was the main objective for the Catalan on this occasion.
“We are in the next round after an incredible amount of games,” said Pep.
“We played seriously. In the first half we struggled a bit, but the second half was better. I think in general the team did okay.
“Our game was there all the time. In the Premier League we are far away, we have to focus on taking second position. In the other comps we go game by game.”
Taylor Harwood-Bellis got more vital minutes under his belt against Port Vale and the manager was pleased with the teenager’s contribution.
“Taylor, when he’s played this season, he’s played really well.
“Of course, he’s young and now he’s already scored for Manchester City - it was a bit of a weird goal, but it’s a goal. It’s important he plays at a good level. Eric Garcia and Taylor are young, but they play more than well.
“Young players have to not talk too much, listen and learn.
“They have to learn. The future is in their hands. The privilege for us has to be in this club and play minutes with this team.”
In response to City having three local lads on the pitch at the same time against Port Vale in Phil Foden, Harwood-Bellis and Tommy Doyle, the boss added: “Of course it’s important with Taylor, Phi Foden and Tommy Doyle.
“Tommy played in the Carabao Cup and played a few minutes today. It’s not because they are English, it’s because they are good players.
“We don’t give presents. What we have seen so far, they have the quality to help us."
With City awarded two goals after VAR checks, Pep was inevitably asked if he felt it was odd to see players not celebrating goals (as clearly happened with City’s third).
“Yep, I agree,” he said. “The opponent team when it’s not a goal, celebrate that. It’s weird.
“Every time it’s a goal, you have to wait on the behaviour of the ref.
“When it’s clear, like the fourth goal you can celebrate. The other ones you have to wait. We have many experiences of that..
“There are many situations when it’s not clear.”
Finally, on the invite for the Port Vale players to come into the City dressing room after the game, he added: “I was not there, but I think they changed shirts. It was a pleasure.
“I saw their manager and the sporting director. It’s nice for us to host these clubs and for their players to realise we are the same.
“We are a different level, but dreams are dreams.”