Before Manchester City learned the fixtures for their Premier League title defence, manager Pep Guardiola reflected on how his side fought back from a slow start last season to become champions for the third time in four years.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic leading to a truncated season, there were unparalleled pressures on every club.
Whereas City set off at a breathtaking pace in their previous two title-winning seasons under Guardiola, it was not so straightforward in 2020/21.
Lying 11th in the table in November, they recorded 15 straight Premier League victories between December and March to take control of the title race and never looked back.
"This was a season and a Premier League title like no other. This was the hardest one," said Guardiola after his 31st trophy as a manager was sealed with three matches remaining.
"At the start of every season, the Premier League is the most important title for us.
Read more: Premier League 2020/21 Season Review
"This is the one where you have to be there every three days, playing all your rivals home and away. Only by being the very best, week in week out, can you win this competition. It is a huge success."
Although 10,000 fans were back at the Etihad Stadium to see the PL Trophy lift on the final day of the campaign, the remainder of the League season was played without Manchester City supporters in attendance due to COVID-19 restrictions, and Guardiola had special words for them.
"It is so important to say a huge thank you to all our fans," he said. "In our toughest moments, we couldn't hear the crowd get behind us as usual but we know they are with us everywhere we go and that has lifted us."