Manchester City mock Jose Mourinho in new behind-the-scenes Amazon documentary
Manchester City's behind-the-scenes, club-approved documentary will fan the flames of the rivalry between Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, portraying the Manchester United manager as a defensive-minded negative coach during last season.
The Amazon Prime series "All Or Nothing" had its premiere in Manchester on Wednesday night with Guardiola and some of his players in attendance and the first of eight episodes will be available on the subscription streaming service from Thursday. Viewers will see Guardiola telling his players to "play with f------ character" and raucous post-match dressing room celebrations but it will be the treatment of Mourinho and United which will raise eyebrows.
City granted unprecedented access to the cameras, the second episode focussing on the club's record breaking 14th straight Premier League victory at Old Trafford in December of last year's title triumph, a game which ended with a brawl in the tunnel between the two sets of players. There is no mention of those events, subject to a Football Association investigation, nor any footage of it.
Instead Guardiola tells his players in the aftermath of victory: "You killed them [United] while playing football and even in the bad moments you were there, guys. You were outstanding. We travelled there to our neighbours and showed what we are. And you did it, guys, that's why you deserve all my respect. It's all in our hands. Only Manchester City can lose the Premier League right now".
The narration by Academy Award-winning British actor Ben Kingsley describes the game at Old Trafford in December thus: "It is Guardiola versus Mourinho once more; possession versus defence; attacking football versus ‘park-the-bus'".
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City say that they did not have editorial control over the final cut although they could veto scenes which were potentially slanderous or which divulged commercially sensitive information or personal details. The £10 million deal with Amazon Prime has caused anger at Sky Sports who believe that the billions they have invested in English football should entitle them to similar access.
After the game, the camera lingers on City fans singing their favourite song about Mourinho's "park the bus" style - cut in with clips of the United manager in his post-match press conference rejecting the notion that the statistics backing up City's dominance of possession have any relevance.
In the build-up to the game, Guardiola and his assistant coach Domenec Torrent discuss how United are vulnerable from set-pieces. Both City goals at Old Trafford that day, for David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi, turn out to originate from set-pieces.
The first episode also analyses Mourinho's rejection of Kevn De Bruyne when the pair were at Chelsea together. Describing his time at Stamford Bridge, De Bruyne (below) says: "I was only 20 years old when I decided to sign for Chelsea, I got my chance in the first team [at Chelsea] in the first few games and I thought ‘Okay, everything is going well, played okay and the won the games. One day it just stopped."
The documentary series, with what is described as a crew "embedded" with the squad for nine months capture many pivotal moments of City's 2016-2017 title winning season. There are intense team-talks delivered by Guardiola, with the Catalan favouring a particularly ripe tone of language given his reputation for a cerebral approach to the game.
One of his typically frenetic pre-match team talks is an impassioned appeal for the players to embrace the unshakeable principles of his passing game. "I know it's difficult guys," he says. "I know that because you want to win. I know that guys. I know you want to win but you have to learn to play football with courage. Our best thing in our season is because it doesn't matter where we went … we played with f----- character, with courage to play."
Later Guardiola exhorts his players to be more ruthless in taking their chances. "If you want to be a top, top, top team," he says, "you have to score the f------ goals, guys."
As well as the focus on Guardiola the documentary captures the moment that Benjamin Mendy is told by Barcelona doctor Ramon Cugat he will miss the rest of the season with a ruptured cruciate ligament sustained against Crystal Palace in September. Sergio Aguero reveals one of his two best friends is United goalkeeper David De Gea, a former team-mate at Atletico Madrid.
There is a brief contribution in the first episode from Yaya Toure, the club's former great who later accused Guardiola of "having problems with African players" when he finally left City in the summer. Guardiola rejected those allegations wholesale and Toure's words caused great upset at the club given the player's place in their history. It would appear his testimony has been left in order to demonstrate that his story has changed over the course of 12 months.
The second episode features Aguero, very rarely interviewed in his seven years in English football, showing the Amazon Prime crew around his home. He says that his son Benjamin, whose mother is Gianinna Maradona, daughter of Diego Maradona, lives in Argentina and visits him for one week in every month.
Aguero says: "But most of the time I am on my own. If not I'll hang out with Nico Otamendi or David De Gea. I hang out a lot with David De Gea because we played together at Atletico Madrid. We have a friendship from Atletico but he plays for United and I'm City."
The first episode features a meeting between chief executive Ferran Sorriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain with chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, the direct link to the club's billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour. The Amazon Prime crew have been obliged to pixelate out the names of the club's targets at the time suggesting not all of them were signed. The trio do discuss on camera their investment in the summer of 2017 of £133 million in just full-backs alone, Danilo, Kyle Walker and Mendy.
Soriano warns Begiristain that he cannot expect to sign the same kind of players that would be successful in their native Spain. "There might be a type of player that works for the Spanish league and not for the Premier League because of the physicality."
In a candid moment, Guardiola concedes that there are times when he deceives his players that he has all the answers in order to sustain their confidence. "Often when I don't know something I act in front of the players as if I do. I do it so they believe I have the answers and that gives them the confidence to play. Sometimes they ask you things and ten you must adopt the role of a father, brother or son. I try to give them the best advice you would hope to receive in your own life."