‘Coach Prime’ Deion Sanders Inspires European Champ Manchester City Star to Bag a ‘Good Pay’

Published 04/02/2024, 4:30 AM EDT

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Deion Sanders is doing a fine job with the NCAA team Colorado Buffaloes. But, it has recently come to the revelation that the football coach played a key role in another team’s fortunes. Manchester City has just released their documentary, Together: Treble Winners, which details the club’s fairytale 2022/23 season. And interestingly, Sanders is to thank for Manuel Akanji’s impressive performances.

In episode 2 of the six-part series, the Sky Blues’ defender Manuel Akanji said, “I’m trying to look good and dress well.” Per the defender, this has an interesting link to his performances on the pitch. Akanji seems to be following NFL coach Deion Sanders’ way of thinking. Akanji added, “He (Sanders) said, if you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.”  Seeing the Swiss star’s performances last season, Coach ‘Prime Time’s advice is really doing wonders.

via Reuters

Despite being a new signing, Akanji featured in a staggering 48 matches! His influence was evident as the Sky Blues conceded just 46 goals in the entire 61 matches. Moreover, he even recorded a pass completion rate of 93.3%, the highest of any player to have completed at least 500 passes in the league. Add in his versatility to play in midfield and defense, and Manchester City has got a sensational player on their hands.


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However, Deion Sanders is not the only person who helped Akanji ‘play good‘. In fact, the Swiss star has revealed how manager Pep Guardiola maintains the ‘hunger‘ in the squad to play better and win more.

Manuel Akanji reveals the success formula at Manchester City


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Despite winning 5 Premier League titles in 6 years, Pep Guardiola and Co are still hungry for more. What is the secret behind this relentless mentality? Akanji explained, “It’s the hunger to win these titles. We’re not happy if we finish second in the league or as runner-up in the Champions League.” Also, the versatile defender revealed Pep Guardiola’s role in creating a winning culture.


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The Swiss international talked about how the competition is intense within Manchester City. Hence, no player is guaranteed a spot in the starting XI. Akanji revealed, “Everyone’s trying to be in the starting 11. It’s healthy competition. When you’re on the pitch, you give it your best, so you can play in the next game.” Akanji himself faces intense competition from the likes of Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake, Joško Gvardiol, and even Rico Lewis. Yet, the fact that he is consistently putting in great performances while being happy at the club is a testament to the culture at Manchester City.


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Written by:

Adithya Narayanan


One take at a time

Adithya is a Soccer Writer at EssentiallySports. A Liverpool fanboy, he takes pride in being alive to witness Jurgen Klopp taking the Reds to domestic and European glory. Adithya loves an in-depth soccer chat involving tactical intricacies and stats.
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Edited by:

Sreeda U M