Men's Team

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

Our City Studios documentary taking you behind the scenes of another Premier League title winning campaign is back!

Together: Champions Again! is a seven-part documentary that follows the 2021/22 season from pre-season through to the trophy parade on the streets of Manchester.

With the first episode available on CITY+ and Recast from 6pm today, the show gives unique access to Pep Guardiola's side at training, in the dressing room and away from football.

The remaining episodes will follow on both platforms in the coming weeks.

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The 46-minute long first chapter takes us from the signing of Jack Grealish through to the team talk at the end of the momentous October draw with Liverpool at Anfield.

Here we'll take a look at the five things we learned from today's episode.

Grealish's awkward first day

Jack Grealish's move to City was filled with new experiences.

The England international had never previously signed for a club as a professional, having been at Aston Villa since childhood. That meant that when he arrived in Manchester for a medical, he wasn't fully prepared for the ordeal ahead of him.

Once all the formalities were out of the way, Grealish reported for training at the CFA. With many of his international colleagues still on holiday following England's run to the final of the European Championship, the then 25-year-old could only converse with Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus - two players he had a tussle with on the pitch the season before!

Ruben's routine

It won't surprise anyone just how much of a professional Ruben Dias is.

The Portuguese defender invited the cameras into his central Manchester flat to follow his morning routine - and it was an early start for everyone. Dias was the first player to report to the CFA, arriving at the training ground for 8:20am.

His attitude towards his fitness is highlighted by Sport Science Coach Donough Holohan, who said: "He keeps us on our toes and he's forced us to think differently about how we do a lot of our programming. He works at times when other players don't work and he has strong ideas about what he can do. He's great to work with.

"He has strong views on what he needs and he had certain routines that he brought into this building when he arrived. He leaves no stone unturned, he addresses everything he needs to address and I think the success of it is shown in what he does on the pitch."

These demands that Dias places on himself and his colleagues demonstrates the level of professionalism required to compete for the biggest trophies in the game.

City officially launch Recast channel

Ake the pianist

Shortly after Nathan Ake played in the September Champions League victory over RB Leipzig, his father passed away.

In this episode, the defender talks about that difficult time in his life and the support he received from his family, his dog and City - stating that Pep told him to take as much time off as he required.

He also shows us some of his skills on the piano.

"It settles me down and helps me to think about nothing other than the piano. It's nice sometimes to be away from everything," he says about his hobby.

Wenger admires mahrez

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is now FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development.

As part of that role, the legendary coach was at the CFA in early September to give Kevin De Bruyne his trophy after being named in the FIFPro World XI for 2020/21.

While waiting for the Belgian, Wenger bumped into Riyad Mahrez and they discussed the Algerian's stellar form at the end of 2020/21 season. Wenger ended the conversation by telling Mahrez he was going to give De Bruyne his trophy before exclaiming "And it will be you this year!".

Having won the Premier League on three occasions with Arsenal, the Frenchman clearly understands the game. As this conversation would suggest, he is a big admirer of Mahrez's talents.

Training photos | Back at the CFA

Pep talk

Pep Guardiola works incredibly hard. His passion fuels him through the many challenges that chasing trophies at the very top end of the game can provide. This is not something City fans are only just learning.

However, this episode brings that into sharp focus as we go through a week in which City took on Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool.

In training ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge, the manager delivers a captivating monologue about the need for courage and self belief in these difficult matches while gesturing with a football in hand.

His footballing philosophy is clear at several points in this episode but perhaps never more so than when he says the following as part of that intense speech.

"I hate it the most when you don't want the ball. I hate it. You have permission to make a mistake. You have permission to lose. You have permission for everything. When you have permission, you accept: 'I want the ball'."

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