A mask may have been covering his face but it was easy to see that Enzo Maresca was beaming ear to ear.

The joy of lifting his first title as a manager and celebrating it with his children was yet to wear off. We’d been standing in the cold trying to catch a word with him for approaching an hour while the 41-year-old savoured the moment. As a way of an (absolutely not necessary) apology, he brings out some spare burgers left over from the celebrations, displaying the thoughtfulness that has so ingratiated himself to his young players. Those footballers eat good.

Maresca enjoyed a long and prestigious career, picking up several trophies in the process, including the Serie A title with Juventus and two UEFA Cups at Sevilla, yet he has no hesitation in naming his first prize won as a coach, Manchester City EDS’ Premier League Division 1 title, as his proudest achievement.

“Absolutely! Absolutely! Probably you don't believe me but it's probably the best one,” the Italian tells the Manchester Evening News.

“Because first of all for me it's a new life as a coach and especially because all the trophies I won as a player I still didn't have kids and I always thought when I was a player to celebrate a trophy with kids would be fantastic and tonight my family was here, my kids they were here so for me it's been very good.”

City lifted the title following their final home game of the season, a 4-1 victory over Tottenham which typified exactly why they are champions. All four goals were excellent - with captain Tommy Doyle bending in a free-kick for the opener, the third seeing Liam Delap tap home after great work from Claudio Gomes and James McAtee clipping in the fourth in the final minutes - but it was the second goal which had all the hallmarks of a Pep Guardiola side and showed just how good these kids are.

Enzo Maresca, Head Coach of Manchester City celebrates with his children

A Spurs set-piece had been cleared and a counter-attacking opportunity was on the cards but instead of going with the risky pass to try and capitalize, Doyle instead decided to keep possession and patiently build up play.

After a series of quick passes the ball was eventually worked to Gomes, the right-back got away from his man and rushed down the flank before passing inside to McAtee. The playmaker advanced and took his time before sliding the ball across to Ben Knight, who fired back across the goal and into the top corner.

It was a display of perfect decision-making from every player and, especially from Doyle, a calm temperament to be able to turn down the exciting option for the sensible one.

It shows exactly why, despite having the youngest average age in the division (before Friday's match at Spurs) City are 14 points clear at the top of the table with a game remaining, are unbeaten at home all season, have scored more goals than any other team with 79, 22 more than anyone else, and have the second-best defensive record with 30 goals conceded. Only Everton have shipped less.

Having wrapped up the title without kicking a ball the week before, after closest challengers Blackburn Rovers conceded late on against Liverpool to hand City their first Premier League 2 trophy, the young Blues could have been forgiven for taking their foot off the gas. Yet the first game after being crowned champions they defeated West Ham United 1-0 away before following it up with the hammering of Tottenham at home.

Yesterday's 6-1 hammering of Spurs away from home saw the season end in ruthless fashion with a Liam Delap hat-trick to secure his status as top scorer with Cole Palmer in second, with James McAtee pipping Tommy Doyle to the best assister in what had become a personal duel.

Despite the strong finish, Maresca is proud of the mentality his players have displayed in the games where there hasn't been anything on the line.

"This is one of the motivations that's why we're also proud of them because they know that even if you win you must always show the right attitude and the way you want to play," he says. "I think against West Ham we did probably not [play] our best game I think tonight was very good first-half, second-half not good but okay."

The youngsters' reaction was hardly a surprise, as it's a mindset that has been instilled in them at the club.

“For us in the academy we want to be winners, we all have that same mentality,” captain Tommy Doyle tells MEN Sport.

Tommy Doyle kisses the trophy

“When everyone buys into that, and with the brilliant coaching staff we’ve had this season, it’s a winning formula. Together as a team and staff this season we’ve wanted to win. The games where it’s been tricky you see it the most when we’ve dug deep and fought.

“As a team, when you just click all playing together, we got some results together. We still feel now that we’re unbeatable, we feel invincible and no team can beat us.

“That feeling to have as a group of players is something special that doesn’t come around often. We’re fortunate to be part of this group and I’m glad we’ve won something to reflect how good we’ve been.”

That togetherness is echoed by versatile defender CJ Egan-Riley, who says: “We've had an excellent season. We've had some ups, we've had some downs but I think in the whole we've all enjoyed ourselves.

CJ Egan-Riley celebrates with the title

“All the lads have put a shift in, some people haven't even played minutes this season some have played minimal minutes some people have played a lot, but it just feels like together, tonight [vs Spurs], everyone has come together and it's a special occasion winning the league, lifting the trophy here and a good performance tonight."

Perhaps what sums up the team spirit most is that captains Doyle and Egan-Riley, who skippers the Under-18s, didn’t lift the trophy after the Spurs home win. Instead, the team decided to let 18-year-old full-back Josh Wilson-Esbrand do the honours after a difficult season with injury.

“Josh had a big injury at the start of the season, an ACL,” explains Doyle. “He started a few games at the beginning of the season. It ruined his season really, stuff like that for such a young lad can be hard mentally and that’s a big thing now.

“We’ve seen what’s happened with other people which is awful. We thought as a team and me personally that it’d be nice for Josh to lift it. We’re a team, we want to win, it doesn’t matter who lifts the trophy. The main thing is winning it.”

Josh Wilson-Esbrand lifts the trophy with teammates

Egan-Riley adds: “Josh is a big part of our team. It was very unfortunate in the first game of the season that he ended up having quite a severe injury which kept him out for the season but every day we see him training, we see him working trying to get back to full fitness and that inspires us to go out on the pitch and do it for people like him or the other ones that haven't played so much. It just shows how unified we are as a team.”

With the title win a team effort, forward James McAtee revealed that plenty of credit must also go to Maresca for instilling a confidence in the team from the moment he took the reigns of the side last summer.

“When Enzo came in he said: ‘this has never been done before, we want to make history and win the league.’ And we went and did it,” McAtee explained.

“Right at the start of the season we went 3-1 up against Derby and drew 3-3, then went away to Blackburn and lost 2-1. We started off quite shaky and it was quite worrying. We said we had to kick on and get going, and obviously we did and got a few wins under our belts.

“Training got more intense, all the lads didn’t want to get shown up that we weren’t ready for Premier League 2. We’re a young squad, so we wanted to show we were ready and not just a young team."

Maresca himself admits he struggled in his new position at the start of the campaign, especially with losing players to the Under-18s and the senior side.

Maresca lifts the title with his staff

"To be honest at the beginning I struggled a lot because when you are not ready for the situation you struggle a little bit, probably I was not ready with all this movement, first team, under-18s, but then, in the end, you have to adapt and I think we adapt quite well."

Friday's win at Tottenham sees the EDS end the season on an 18-match winning run, with their last defeat coming against Southampton on November 7 with a 5-2 loss.

Maresca pinpoints the loss as a key moment in the season, with things really starting to click upon the restart of the season in the new year.

"Oh yeah, absolutely," he says when asked if the defeat was a turning point. "The last one was the Southampton game I think was 7 November so six months ago. But I think the change has been after Christmas. I think since we restart the season the team shows a different way to defend more aggressively, we changed something in the way we press."

“We used to play standard 4-3-3 all the time but Enzo came in and changed the formation, changed how it worked, training became more intense and harder. He’s a great manager and he’s helped us a lot," McAtee adds.

Liam Delap, Alex Robertson, James McAtee and CJ Egan-Riley with the trophy

“He’ll let you know when you’re not doing so good and he’ll let you know when you are doing good. He wouldn’t come in and nail us if we played well and lost, but if we didn’t have a good attitude that’s when he’ll be straight with us.”

That refreshing, trophy-driven attitude is something Doyle also noticed as the leader of the EDS.

“I’ve been with the U23’s for a few years and I’ve seen the different styles and coaches. It wasn’t based on winning, it was about playing nice football, which is nice but you want to win. Soon as Enzo came in he said: ‘listen, we’re going to win this league.’

“When a coach says that, you start to believe as players. Sometimes when you want to win as a player and your coach is saying different things and not really focussed on winning, you get off track. He came and said we want to win, it’s easier said than done but when you tell yourself that you have a very good chance with the ability we have as players.

“If you take the foot off the gas and think you’ve cracked it, he’ll put you on the bench. Every player now in training or games has given 110% because your spot isn’t guaranteed.

“I know we’ve got to go out and implement the new tactics but what Enzo’s told us to do and how the games have planned out is everything that he’s said.

Maresca himself highlights how important winning silverware can be at a club like City as he praised the versatility of his players.

“I think it's something important for the club because it shows that the club wants to win at every age, not only first-team or women,” he said.

“Every age is important and I always say the same I think winning games is also part of the process especially at this age it's important to develop them in the way they are to play but also winning games is a way to develop them.

“It's been a great experience because we try different things. It depends on the opponent we try to find different solutions and I think in the end we play in a different way many, many games so I think that has been an important point.”

Captain Tommy Doyle lifts the trophy

Doyle even hopes that the U23’s success can motivate the first team in their quest for the Premier League and Champions League titles this season.

“Our success is important to the senior players too,” he says.

“Because a few of us have been with them all season. Now we’ve got close bonds with them and they want to see us do well in the league we’re in, as we do for them. The players have always been asking how many games we have left, how many points to win the title.

“They give us motivation and hopefully us winning gives them motivation as well, I think it does. Across all the platforms from U18s to the first team to the women, we want to be winning trophies.”

So with the 2021 Premier League 2 adding to the 2020 FA Youth Cup, 2020 U18 Premier League cup and U18 PL title, what is next for this ‘invincible’ side?

For McAtee the starting point will be to retain the title in 2022.

“100% we want to retain it and try and get further in the other competitions. We need a better start, it would have been a lot more comfortable if we didn’t draw and lose those games. We’ve had a lot of red cards this season, too, so we have to talk to the lads about not losing their heads.

“Hopefully this group can go all the way, all the lads are confident with their ability. I see them in training every day and they do well. Hopefully we can get as far as we can, hopefully together.”

But for City fan Doyle he wants to get his hands on more trophies.

He explained: “It’s gutting we didn’t have the chance to compete in Europe with the UEFA Youth League because of Covid restrictions. Personally I think we could have won that. I know it’s easy to say that because we’ve not had to do it. But the team feels invincible.

“I personally feel we can’t really get beat because we’ve got that bond and trust of each other. We’ve had a few games where it’s been tough and dug deep for each other and fought. When you have that, sometimes top teams don’t have that. We’ve got everything as a team and that’s the one trophy we haven’t got.”

So watch out, Europe, City’s next generation are coming.