Telling the story of the creation of the six-part Netflix series Together: Treble Winners, created by City Studios and detailing an unforgettable season for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. 

By Jack Wilson-Mumford

Just as winning the biggest trophies is a team effort, so is the creation of an immersive behind the scenes documentary such as Together: Treble Winners. 

Tracking the progress of Pep Guardiola’s City side throughout the historic 2022/23 season, Together: Treble Winners is a City Studios production globally available on Netflix. 

Our state-of-the-art cameras were there every step of the way for 11 months as we became only the second English side ever to win the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in the same campaign. 

However, while the hard work for the players temporarily ceased in Istanbul in June, it was only just beginning for those charged with documenting one of the finest achievements in English football history. 

Having filmed daily inside the first team building as well as attending every single training session and all of the 61 matches it took for us to reach that summit, the City Studios team had tens of thousands of hours of footage to work through to tell the story of the season and its protagonists. 

While the lengthy post-production process pulled in editors, designers, editorial staff and more, the bulk of the planning and filming had been carried out by three members of the City Studios setup. 

John De Caux, Alex Cuschieri and Harriet Jones are embedded within the first team setup, going wherever Guardiola’s world class players and coaches do.  

“Filming is always very discreet and we are all self-shooting directors” says De Caux.  

“We always make sure that only one of us is covering a scene at any one time as it is essential that we blend in just like other backroom staff. There is no time for second takes in such an elite sporting environment. Luckily, camera and audio technology has advanced so much is recent years meaning that we can capture multiple angles of dramatic moments whilst retaining such a light footprint.” 

Initially setup during the height of the COVID pandemic when testing was required in order to have access to the first team building at the City Football Academy, the unit has since become a key part of daily life amongst first team staff and players.  

This latest series of Together is the Club’s third such documentary charting a Guardiola campaign after a 90-minute film for 2020/21 and a seven part series for 2021/22, both still available on CITY+. 

Improved understanding of every department’s working practices and more time around each other has seen each iteration of Together go deeper into what makes the world’s best football team tick. 

Dressing room scenes, team talks and playful banter between the players have been at the heart of each season, but with every passing year we get more of a sense of the footballers that represent this Club. 

As fans who watch this latest series will see, the players are just as comfortable around the camera as they are with the coaches and backroom staff who work to improve their game. 

This comes from the time De Caux, Cuschieri and Jones have spent with the team, travelling the length of the country and overseas, maintaining a constant presence. 

With De Caux leading the team and largely overseeing the series direction, post production and camera technology, much of the daily interaction with the team falls to Cuschieri and Jones. 

In order to establish that connection with the stars, hours of work off camera must first be put in to lay the foundation of mutual understanding.  

“We had that everyday life of covering every single game and training session and that built the trust and familiarity between us and the coaches and backroom staff,” said Cuschieri.  

“Our relationships with staff and players is always getting better, we were there for good moments, bad moments whether we were holding a camera or not. We’re just one of the colleagues that all the players and staff see as part of their daily routine.  

“We are part of the first team set up and included in all the big moments. We carry on that embedded nature now and into the future too. It’s boosted all of our content through the season.” 

“When we are filming, our lower angle style is one that ensures we maintain eye contact with the players at all times. As storytellers, we want them to be speaking to us, not just another camera.” adds De Caux. 

Jones joined the setup later than her two colleagues and remembers finding her feet as part of the well-oiled machine that is every matchday. 

“I came over towards the end of the 2021/22 season,” she said.  

“You have to go into the dressing room to understand the routine and how everyone goes about their business. For the first three or four games, I was staying out of the way as much as possible. 

“Over the months and years, we’ve built relationships with management, staff and players and we’ve reached the point where us being here benefits the rest of the team. They know we can help them and it’s not just us asking them.” 

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We see an example of the embedded group helping the coaching staff early in the first episode of this series. 

With City about to play AFC Bournemouth in the first home game of the season, Guardiola gathers his players around and tees up a video on a big screen. 

What plays is a reminder of the last game at the Etihad, a 3-2 win of the final day of the 2021/22 season in which City came from behind to seal the Premier League title. 

The video, produced by City Studios staff, has a galvanising effect on the players who register a 4-0 win that day and discuss it in the documentary. 

“That was the second time we had done that after being asked by Pep,” Cuschieri says.  

“In the Liverpool game the season before, he wanted to show how far we’d come that season and illicit an emotional response. 

“The Bournemouth one was his way to gee everyone up and remind them about how exciting it is to be with our fans.  

“This is what it meant to us and this is what it meant to them. You see in the series that Ilkay [Gundogan] hadn’t even watched that game back, even though his goals helped us to win the title. 

“Those moments have meant we’ve become an asset within the building, we’ll help the performance analysis and sports scientists.  

“We shoot tactical sessions and set piece drills. In this series, you see Xabi [Mancisidor, Goalkeeping Coach] is going through drills with Ederson before the Champions League final about saving close range headers. Then you see in the game itself that he saved a header from Lukaku in that exact same area. It’s amazing to see those elements in training come across in the games.” 

The natural instinct when ascribed to capture behind the scenes content is to always have a camera in hand. 

However, the team set themselves up to build relationships and understand our players without ever missing a moment worth sharing. 

Jones reflects: “It’s knowing when not to film and just have a conversation with them so we can get to know each other as people.” 

“It’s an instinct that you get and learn about but the beauty of our set up in dressing rooms is that we’ve got different camera and lens options to ensure we capture things discreetly.  

“We’ve got the footage of their natural reactions without having to shove a camera in their face. Afterwards we can look at it and decide where it sits.” 

While tensions can be high in an elite sports dressing room, this series aims to capture the inner machinations of the team at its lows as well as its highs. 

One such moment that stands out for Cuschieri is the memorable speech after the January 2023 Carabao Cup defeat at Southampton. 

As shown in Together: Treble Winners, the boss makes his feelings known to his players in no uncertain terms. 

“Pep always says that he wants to see us in the bad times as well as the good times,” says Cuschieri. 

“We all love being around in those amazing moments but to get there you have to go through the losses and the anger and frustration around those games.  

“When we first started, we’d be hidden in the corner but now we know we’re part of the group.  

“The Southampton team talk was one of the most hard hitting team talks I’ve ever shot because it was a dressing down of the performance.  

“That’s five minutes of Pep talking, it’s really powerful and in those moments you can see the players’ emotions. It can’t always be positive, that’s not how good stories work.   

“When Pep says ‘wow’ in that Southampton speech, I was thinking the same because I’m seeing it in real time but knowing we’re filming this too.” 

That scene at Southampton is filmed from a manned camera sat amongst the group of players. 

Another example from this series that sees the camera become part of the action is when, weeks later, Guardiola gathers his players around to tell them to perform a pre-match huddle every game and issue a passioned rallying cry that will have any City fan thumping their chest. 

During this scene we see the manager make eye contact with many of those gathered around him, including the City Studios staff member holding the camera. 

For the viewer, this gives the impression that Guardiola is calling you out at home to join him in battle. 

“He’s looking down the barrel of the camera on occasion because we are in the huddles. He’s looking into the eyes of each of the players, backroom staff and then one of us in those moments,” says Cuschieri.  

“That whole immersive idea of being part of the backroom staff is born in those moments.  

“The phrase with these types of documentaries is always ‘fly on the wall’, what we tried to deliver with this documentary is that you’re not a fly on the wall, you are part of it. You are in that huddle as Pep’s giving a speech.” 

During the game, the camera operator takes up a position behind the dugout and focuses on the action around them as the game goes on. This can include Guardiola’s reactions or interactions between the players sitting on the bench. 

“We have to maintain that professionalism and get our shot but we also know that we’ve got the guys who operate the amazing Pitcam cinematic match shots and the stadium is covered with 30 odd other cameras,” says Cuschieri. 

“We know we’re never going to miss a moment but our angle is fairly unique. If anyone had a camera on me while I was filming, there would be plenty of me screaming.” 

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Having rigged up the dressing room before the game and taken up position ahead of full-time, there’s then no guarantee that anything noteworthy will take place once the players and coaches have all returned. 

“The thing with Pep is it can be surprising how he reacts to wins or defeats. You see in the series that he’s not always happy with wins,” outlines Cuschieri.  

“Body language is a major thing for him so if we’ve been down at times in a game even in a win, he will see the positives in the win but then pick up on what he’s seen.  

“Sometimes he doesn’t speak post-match if he feels there’s no need to. We always prepare for those moments.” 

However, sometimes you get moments of pure gold. 

City’s 3-1 win at Arsenal in February put us well on course for the league title having trailed our opponents for much of the campaign up until that point. 

The outpouring of joy is immediately apparent at the end of the third episode, when a party breaks out in the bowels of the Emirates Stadium 

“You never know how the players will react too,” says Jones. 

“Given what was riding on that game and how vocal the players were that night I knew it was going to be a good reaction if they won.  

“I tried to capture them coming in to the room but also you want to capture them when they’re in so I started at the door, waited for half of them to go in, got myself on a chair and enjoyed the moment with them.  

“You have to enjoy it as well, the camera was shaking but that’s how it feels to be in that moment and I think the footage benefits from that.” 

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Naturally, Guardiola is a star of the show. 

The boss is often the central focus in the dressing room and on the training ground, while he appears well aware of the presence of cameras throughout. 

His team talks are often dramatic and its clear that when he talks, he has the full attention of his players. 

Although there’s no suggestion the Catalan performs his theatrics for any reason other than to inspire his squad. 

“I just think that’s him,” says Jones.  

“He’s so good at speaking and he is so passionate that he can come across as an actor but I think that’s just who he is.  

“He’s passionate about everything. If we were there filming or not, he would be exactly the same.  

“Sometimes he is just looking at our cameras wondering what it is then he realises it’s our camera. That can be when we get some of the best moments in terms of eye contact. 

Cuschieri adds: “When you’re filming him, you can get drawn into what he’s saying and then you have to snap yourself back into the room and remember you’re filming.” 

The final episode of the series focuses entirely on the Club’s first successful Champions League final. 

Before the game, we see Haaland playing video games with the kit staff, a special team meeting in the hotel and Pep meeting with former captain Fernandinho in the dressing room. 

The atmosphere builds and builds, until the action starts. 

Once the game is under way, we see City are not at our best. The players return to the dressing room at half-time and the tension is clear for all to see. 

At that point, Cuschieri is amongst the players and has a decision to make. He decides to aim his camera at Erling Haaland, sat in the corner delivering uplifting messages to his team-mates. 

There’s a conversation between Haaland, Riyad Mahrez and Rodrigo, that ends with the Norwegian pointing out that Guardiola will fix their problems. 

Our producer talks us through his thinking at that moment. 

“That’s from my camera. It’s that experience of knowing when we can hold on a player that could give us a great shot.  

“There’s that many players to focus on at that time that you will miss things but you have to hold it and trust your instincts rather than going hunting for the shot. If he doesn’t he doesn’t, but then if he does you capture those moments.” 

Rodrigo’s second half goal saw City overcome nerves and Italian giants Inter to lift the most coveted trophy in Club football.