Guangzhou Evergrande new boy Ricardo Goulart scored a header that was the difference between the two sides in their ACL clash with FC Seoul. He was assisted by another new player, Brazilian Alan.
Cannavaro said: "We have very good foreign players and today is our first formal game with them, considering before there were factors such as national team training and suspensions influencing their involvement with us.
"My team has done a good job, though I expected more. I hope they can do better."
He added: "I don't worry that much during the game because I have so many good players. My confidence is from them.
"When they see the other three Chinese teams all won in AFC Champions League this week, they should realise that every team is improving so should we. We have to work not only with 100% effort, but 200%, to keep us at where we are now."
Cannavaro, a former FIFA World Player or the year and the 2006 Ballon d'Or winner, signed on as manager of Evergrande in November 2014.