A torrential downpour saw kick-off delayed by half an hour in Wednesday's Asia Trophy contest at the Hong Kong Stadium, while the match was shortened to 40 minutes each way.
Sunderland adapted to the conditions well and, despite falling behind to Gylfi Sigurdsson's first-half opener, they battled back with strikes from newcomers Cabral and Moberg Karlsson, with Wes Brown adding a header in between.
Di Canio was buoyed by the display and feels his charges are looking good ahead of the new campaign.
"A win is always good but the way it came made me happy because it is the first official game in a tournament against one of the best sides in the league," Di Canio told Sky Sports.
"The pitch wasn't good but the team have made a sort of revolution playing at this level.
"I saw many things that made me happy and we want to create a clear identity.
"We did OK. There is still a job to do but I am very satisfied and we are going to work harder because we won only one game.
"We still don't know each other but we went 1-0 down and came back to win 3-1 in style.
"Today I saw what I want to see at this stage of the season. To be honest, I saw a bit more than I expected."
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