Manchester City Netflix documentary review: accusations hang over everything but the show lacks insight

Manchester CityNetflix’s highly anticipated documentary, titled Together, Treble Winners, has been released to audiences around the world – and for those who aren’t fans of the club, here’s the title: No, there aren’t many details about These accusations in the Premier League.

The people behind the documentary (i.e. the club) of course mention them; voice-overs from TV and radio presenters add drama and storytelling to a moment last season when City didn’t seem to have won anything, let alone achieved a treble.

The closest we’ve come to City’s reaction to the accusations is footage from manager Pep Guardiola’s press conference at the time. What stands out most is how the issue galvanized the team exactly when it needed a boost.

City lost to Tottenham Hotspur the day before the huge news was announced and they seemed to be lost in the premier league title race, but an us-against-the-world mentality took hold. Guardiola, who had previously defended the club to the media, delivered a rousing speech to his players:

“First: in every match from now on, starting today, when we are together before the referee starts the match, you hug each other in the center circle, near the referee and the opponents” , he told his team before the first game after the match. charges were filed. “Someone, no matter who, starts talking. You look each other in the eye and say we’re going to win every game, or at least try.

(Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)

“Secondly: I love this club. Don’t tell me why. Everything we guys have won has always been on the field. I love the club. I love you too.

“Let’s go.”

Unfortunately, this second piece came out at the end of last season, so it’s not exactly breaking news, but it’s certainly one of the standout moments.

Another of the most interesting aspects of the documentary is Guardiola and his leadership.

He can be extravagant to the point of derangement towards his players, repeatedly shouting at one point early in the season: “Rodri! Bernardiki (which seems to be his nickname for Bernard Silva)!”, after a goal was scored in training. “Guys, I’m going to retire,” he shouts. “You won the Premier League. I saw my team playing the way I wanted, I don’t want to win anymore.

Rather than providing answers, since Guardiola is only interviewed once and that happens after the start of the season, the documentary raises the question of how he manages to keep going year after year and how he continues to offer new things to say to his players. .

“I feel like I have to do the meeting because they’re paying me a lot of money to do something. But I couldn’t say anything, because you know exactly what to do,” he told the team before their match. Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich last April.

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After City’s victory Fulham in November 2022 despite a 10-man game for more than an hour, a performance Athleticism described at the time as one of the main reasons he signed a new contract a few weeks later, he was in tears in the locker room thanking his men for their efforts.

With only brief, sometimes out-of-context references to his tactical plans, this insight into his communication is by far the most interesting aspect of the documentary.

Perhaps the most revealing insight into Erling HaalandThe psyche was that he, at half-time with the score 0-0 in the Champions League final against Inter Milan last June, I said Rodri relax because Guardiola would “fix it” and the team would win. Rodri then scored the only goal of the match.

(Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images)

The six-part series was made by City and originally planned for release last year, but Netflix bought it. Netflix then took several months to film and edit a series of talking heads – usually journalists – to explain everything in simple terms to those watching the show who have little prior knowledge of the club or even the sport.

Those of us who know what the Champions League draw is probably don’t need explanations from The Times’ football editor Henry Winter, but the first two episodes, in particular, are weighed down by things we already know, or by an interview with the guy who called Haaland a “tremendous Nordic meat shield” during preseason. This undoubtedly means that more insightful content had to be removed elsewhere.

And that raises the question of who this documentary is for.

This is far from a comprehensive account of City’s historic 2022-23 season, as you might expect from what started as an in-house production. City have been making documentaries like this for years and they are a big hit with their supporters because they show a more intimate side of the players and Guardiola than is available through external media.

Since these season reviews almost always end with City lifting a major trophy, there are plenty of scenes that bring fans closer to their heroes.

There’s more of this stuff here: Jack Grealish objects to Haaland suggesting he’s a “bad guy” by reminding him that he had to go down to their building to pick up the Norwegian’s takeout order; someone prints out and pins a photoshopped Sky Sports graphic to the wall Manuel Akanjithe head of on Bernardo’s much smaller body; reserve goalkeeper Scott Carson remember Julien Alvarez during training that he “was good”.

Grealish and Haaland are interviewed extensively over the course of six episodes, but Carson, now 38 and two years removed from his most recent first-team appearance but an England international from 2007 to 2011, is a fascinating character who deserves more airtime; he calls his fellow guard Stefan Ortega Moreno “Stephen Nettle Tanned:” – a literal English translation of his Spanish name.

One “prank” shown involves players dressing a mannequin in Rodri’s clothes, but the most interesting element is how others thought the Spaniard might react. “I think he’s going to be angry.” Phil Foden said, offering a slight insight into how players interact with each other. In truth, there have been too few, but the discussions and celebrations within the team are sure to please the fans.

Documentaries like this are less worth the trouble of those who, like the journalists who write reviews of documentaries like this, are looking for some of the more brutal details, not necessarily even related to City’s Premier League charges.

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There is no idea regarding Kalvin Phillips” is struggling to get into the team, for example, and the biggest omission – that we know of – is João Cancelo‘s loan exit to Bayern mid-season, following a massive rift with Guardiola and criticism from some of the teammates who took his place in the team. We don’t even recognize that he’s gone.

The highlight of the show, however, came amid adversity.

Guardiola called the 2-0 Carabao Cup defeat at Southamptonwho ended up being relegated, put in the worst performance of his time at the club in January last year, and his dressing room performance is worth watching.

“Tell me the explanation for today,” he opens. “Tell me. Do you think it’s normal, the way you played? Do you think it’s normal, that guys (fans) who travel, who don’t have money to pay for their heating at home, come here, to follow us, to perform in this way?


“My team is not performing as that” he said, wagging his finger.

Guardiola was unhappy with his players’ failure to defend Lewis against Spurs (Michael Regan/Getty Images)

While his players remain silent, Guardiola speaks to them about body languagehe tells them to come down to earth, to be humble and threatens them with being replaced by players from the academy.

“In less than two and a half days we go to Old Trafford. For ten years they have been waiting to kill us – for ten years. Have you prepared well? Because they have something that you showed me today that we don’t have.

“They’re hungry. They’re starving. We’re not.”

Guardiola then looks at his players before leaving the room with a worrying message.

“Maybe I was confused.” (City also lost that impending derby to United, 2-1.)

It all came to a head later in January when Guardiola called his players “happy flowers” in a very public press conference about their complacency.

One aspect of their performance in a 4-2 victory that month against Tottenham he didn’t like was that his players didn’t defend the 17-year-old midfielder Rico Lewis as the game became physical. But rather than focusing too much on Guardiola and the players’ reactions during this match, the documentary took the opportunity to show us Lewis trains in his father’s Thai boxing gym.

This helps sum up the series as a whole: a “nice” story instead of something a little more detailed. But after that, it depends on what you expect from it.

Over the course of six episodes, particularly the last two, as City prepares for the finale of the FA Cup and the Champions League, a real human element of their successes in recent years East there, in plain sight.

The irony is that those who view City and Guardiola’s achievements as an inevitability and/or the result of too much money, or even cheating, will never watch this series.

If they did, they would see that players are not avatars to be moved around on computer games such as Football Manager or EA FC. These are humans who have achieved greatness through their hard work and talent. They get nervous, they make mistakes and they have also experienced setbacks sometimes.

Another irony is that the documentary, a promotional tool to show how great and successful City are, probably doesn’t touch on these areas as much as it should because it’s too concerned with showing the world how perfect everything is .

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(Top photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

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