Men's Team

Five things we learned from 'Together: Champions Again!' - Episode Three

The third episode of the City Studios documentary on last season's Premier League title success is here, and it's another one full of never before seen moments.

Our cameras were embedded with Pep Guardiola's squad for the entirety of the 2021/22 campaign, leading to this seven part series.

The first two episodes are available to watch on CITY+ and our official Recast channel, while the third instalment will be available at both locations at 18:00 BST today.

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This week we begin with the huge Champions League meeting with Paris Saint-Germain at the Etihad Stadium, and covers the start of a relentless winning run that took us to the top of the Premier League table.

We also see Ilkay Gundogan's coaching session with the Club's Under-16 side, meet Bernardo Silva's dog named after one of his team-mates and hear about Kyle Walker's 'immature' mistake.

Here's what we learned...

No changes needed

When you fall behind against a team like Paris Saint-Germain, who boast stars like Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, you may expect a new approach.

However, City had enjoyed the upper hand for most of the match prior to Mbappe's opener at Etihad Stadium in November and that gave Ilkay Gundogan confidence heading into the final half hour.

In response to going a goal down, the German midfielder said: "The best things you can do in these kind of games, is to not really change anything."

That commitment to the plan set out before kick-off paid off, with City eventually winning the match 2-1 and moving to top spot in Group A.

Deep analysis

Gundogan features heavily in this week's episode. Immediately after that heavyweight clash with the French side, we see our No. 8 take to the training pitch as a coach instead of a player.

As part of his preparations for life after his playing career, Gundogan worked with the Club's Under-16 side. Before they went out to the pitch, the players were taken through a technical and tactical meeting with Under-16 Lead Coach Darren Hughes and first team assistant Carlos Vicens.

Gundogan was blown away by the depth of the instructions, and the deep understanding for the game displayed by such young players.

"I don't remember when I was 16 on a normal training day having a meeting with analysts. We had a tactic board but that was mainly just before the game," he said.

WATCH: Gundogan takes Under-16 training

John the dog

John Stones has lots of fans around the world. It seems his biggest sits just a few seats away from him in the changing room, though.

Bernardo Silva chose to name his dog John after our England international defender. The Portuguese playmaker says he initially promised Stones to name his dog in honour his friend, but now Bernardo and his girlfriend have grown to love the name.

"It suits him. He's a beautiful boy, very intelligent! If he's warm and he has food he is fine, he loves to sleep."

Bernardo also let us into a pre-match superstition. One hour before kick-off, he always prepares a coffee for himself and Riyad Mahrez. If it works, don't change it Bernardo!

Walker's 'immature' mistake

Since arriving from Tottenham Hotspur in 2017, Kyle Walker has grown into one of the most important players at the Club. He also enjoys the trust of Pep Guardiola.

However, that relationship was tested during the Champions League encounter with RB Leipzig in Germany when Walker lashed out and received a red card and three match ban.

In the changing room after the final whistle, the boss said to Walker: "You know how important you are to this team, Kyle. In football you have to use here (taps head) and after that, the legs. You cannot make this action Kyle, you are so important for us.

"If we are going to play against the best left wingers in Europe, we need you and now you're out."

Walker then talks candidly on the matter and how he worked afterwards to rebuild that tie with Pep.

Omicron response

Towards the end of this week's episode we reach the period when the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was becoming ever more prominent. With several cases at other Premier League clubs and fixtures now at risk, a strict protocol for all players and staff was put in place.

They would complete their test and remain in their car until the result was confirmed by an app. This kept a handle on cases within the Club but not without hard work from a number of staff.

Pep was flying into the country at this time, and took a test upon arrival at the airport. However, when it returned an inconclusive result there was an added headache for the staff involved. This episode takes us behind the scenes as that matter is resolved.

You can watch Episode Three of Together: Champions Again! on CITY+ (via mancity.com or our official app) or on the Club's Recast channel.

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