Portugal's Luiz Felipe Scolari was keen to focus on his side's result against Angola rather than the performance.
Pauleta gave Portugal an early lead against unfancied minnows Angola, but they failed to build on the advantage.
"No games so far have been easy. That's what it's like at a World Cup," said coach Scolari after the 1-0 win.
"We got the three points. We'll build on that. At one stage they were better than us in midfield but if you look at the best chances they were all ours."
Scolari chose not to start or even bring on influential midfielder Deco, despite suggesting he would use the playmaker on the eve of the match.
Explaining his change of heart, the Brazilian said: "If it was our third game against Mexico to decide our qualification then perhaps I might have risked him.
"But it might have worsened his injury and kept him out for a fortnight. In the circumstances we thought the best thing was to use somebody in better condition.
"A victory, even by the narrowest margin, is excellent. That's what we wanted - three points in the bag.
"If you look at the results of the other matches so far, no team has won their game easily. Take Sweden for example - one of the best teams in the world. They drew with Trinidad and Tobago, who were a well-organised team.
"The early goal gave us peace of mind and we created three or four clear opportunities after that but couldn't score with any of them.
"The game was more competitive than expected. But the important thing is it is three points in the bag and there are six matches to go (to the final)."
Pauleta, who struck after just four minutes, insisted Portugal must improve if they are to make an impact in Germany.
"Angola fought their socks off and made things difficult for us," said the Paris St German marksman.
"The first game is always difficult but we have to step it up if we want to go much further in this tournament. We really need to do better."
Skipper Luis Figo echoed Pauleta's critical tone.
"We came in here well prepared and we played well at times but there were periods when we went off and lost our rhythm," he said.
"We were up against a rival who made life tough for us."