Jack Grealish admits Man City Netflix series left him close to tears as he re-lived Treble triumph… with the winger hungry to do it all over again ahead of Real Madrid showdown

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Grealish turned in a brilliant display in City’s 4-2 victory over Crystal Palace 

It came a few hours after England star finished watching the Netflix series

When Manchester City’s players were afforded some downtime in a Croydon hotel on Friday night, Jack Grealish headed straight to his room and fired up the iPad.

He’d been binge watching a series, with the itch that it really needed finishing.

What he might not have expected is that Netflix and chill brought him close to tears. Grealish had a 49-minute episode left of the documentary detailing City’s Treble season so he sat there, re-lived it, overcome with emotion.

And then turned out arguably his best performance of this campaign at Crystal Palace 15 hours later. The two things might well be linked.

‘I know this is a bit deep,’ Grealish said. ‘The last episode especially made me a bit emotional, made me want to go and do it again and made me think.

Jack Grealish impressed as Man City beat Crystal Palace to keep their title hopes

Jack Grealish impressed as Man City beat Crystal Palace to keep their title hopes alive

Grealish was at the heart of City’s celebrations when they won the Treble last season.

Grealish was at the heart of City’s celebrations when they won the Treble last season

Jack Grealish has questioned why he is always booed by rival fans

‘At the end of the day this is the youngest I’m ever going to be so I’ve got to try and enjoy the moment. Because I’m not going to be playing the Champions League for the rest of my life.

There has been introspection for Grealish since he became the poster boy of City’s history-making night in Istanbul last June.

By his own admission, he has struggled to come to terms with the magnitude of the achievement – only the second English team to complete a clean sweep – and it has undoubtedly contributed to what has since unfolded.

 

Palace was only his ninth Premier League start of the campaign.

 

Pep Guardiola has had several conversations with the 28-year-old about life, about hunger and what it means to go again, how to retain a relentlessness in pursuit of excellence.

 

The manager has chosen, at different times, to go public with pointed remarks.

 

There came a suggestion that a lack of peak fitness influenced one of Grealish’s three injuries. He’s wanted him ‘angry’ for losing his place to Jeremy Doku. And some intermittent references to his training displays.

 

City are determined to defend their Champions League crown with Real Madrid up next

 

City are determined to defend their Champions League crown with Real Madrid up next

Jack Grealish’s love for Bovril has been showcased in Man City’s new Netflix documentary

 

Jack Grealish’s love for Bovril has been showcased in Man City’s new Netflix documentary

His cockapoo Skye is also very dear to him and she is allowed to run around at training ground

 

His cockapoo Skye is also very dear to him and she is allowed to run around at training ground

 

But the message over the last week is that ‘Jack is back’. Back just in time – and Grealish himself wants to make up for what has been lost.

 

‘At times this season I have struggled a little bit with myself,’ he said. ‘Sometimes you do sit there and think how can you ever top last year? Will any happiness ever come close to that?

 

‘In myself I feel like I’m coming back now. You need that hunger. The manager has been so good with me. I owe him a little bit. He’s been there for me all the time.

 

‘A great guy with a really good heart, the best manager to ever exist. I want to repay him now.’

 

There is absolutely no question that when Grealish features, City are a better unit, and he should start at the Bernabeu on Tuesday night when the Champions League quarter-finals roll around.

 

His carrying of the ball will be crucial, taking defenders away as per Kevin De Bruyne’s stunning first goal on Saturday, is a trait that is often overlooked.

 

That move for City’s equaliser encapsulates Grealish’s game. He didn’t record an assist because his cutback for De Bruyne bounced off a Palace defender, so it’s another game where he’s not padded his statistics, but it doesn’t bother Guardiola.

 

The No 10 does the bits before the big bits. And the big bits wouldn’t be possible without him.

 

Grealish likes to spend time with Skye and his girlfriend Sasha Attwood (left) on the grass

 

Grealish likes to spend time with Skye and his girlfriend Sasha Attwood (left) on the grass

His sense of humour and infectious personality makes him a hit throughout the documentary

 

His sense of humour and infectious personality makes him a hit throughout the documentary

When roaming wherever he pleased at Aston Villa, Grealish presumably never envisaged perfecting the role of a knight – jinking here and there, manipulating space – for anybody.

 

‘I thought it might be the same as it was at Villa but it’s not!’ he said. ‘The only ever person who has been able to go and do what they want in a Pep team is Messi, which is fair enough.

 

Grealish celebrates with Kevin De Bruyne after the Belgian’s goal at Selhurst Park

 

Grealish celebrates with Kevin De Bruyne after the Belgian’s goal at Selhurst Park

 

‘I speak to my friends in the dressing room every day and I know how important I am to the team. I do seem to play in the big games.

 

‘I saw (Karim) Benzema say it last season in an interview: everyone is so focused on goals and assists. I want to score, because in football there is no better feeling than scoring goals, but it is a team game.

 

‘I feel I bring so much more to the team than just goals and assists. If you watch the Palace game back you’ll see I played well. It’s just a shame that everyone in the world now just loves stats.’

 

It’s always been the criticism of Grealish at City but when he says he invariably starts on the grander stages, he’s absolutely right. And there is a reason for that.

 

Real Madrid featured heavily in the penultimate episode on Netflix, the wild semi-final second leg. Grealish started both games, the 4-0 demolition at home after a tense 1-1 draw in Spain.

 

Tuesday will be nervy again yet Guardiola’s squad believe they are now built for these nights.

 

The winger gets the better of Dani Carvajal during City’s win over Real Madrid last season

 

The winger gets the better of Dani Carvajal during City’s win over Real Madrid last season

‘That second leg, that night, was one of my favourite moments of being a footballer I think,’ Grealish said.

 

‘It was so special. They are the moments you live for. Real – whether they’ve got a top team or not – are always there.

 

‘But this club is on the way up. It makes me happy to be part of it and the way it is run from the bottom to the top is just so special.’

For the record, he didn’t tear up when delivering that last sentence.

 

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