Man City were held to a 0-0 draw by Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Round of 16 of Carabao Cup, and only made it through on penalties, after Claudio Bravo came out with two amazing spot-kick saves. Manager Pep Guardiola, however, was not satisfied with the ball used for the match, and termed it “unacceptable for a high-level competition” after his side survived an upset.
The tie was played with the Mitre Delta EFL, which is different to the Nike Ordem V ball used in the Premier League. Guardiola started with Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, yet they were held to 0-0 after 120 minutes, but he refused to blame his players for the scoreline.
“It is not acceptable, the ball was unacceptable for a high-level competition,” he stated in his post-match conference. “It is too light, it moves all over the place, it is not a good ball. It is impossible to score with a ball like that and I can say that because we won, I’m not making excuses.
“All of my players said: ‘What is that?’ I’m sorry Carabao Cup is not a serious ball for a serious competition. It’s [for] marketing, money, OK but it’s not acceptable – [it has] no weight, nothing.”
When asked if his players had the time to practice with the ball before the match, he stated: “One day or two days, but the ball is bad for one year or two years, it’s not acceptable. All the players complain.”
Pep didn’t forget to praise his goalkeeper, however, who saved two penalties from Alfred N’Diaye and Conor Coady, and made some fine saves, which included three one-on-one situations, to take his team to the next round. The Chilean lost his place to Ederson after making some basic errors in his first season with the team, which cost them a handful of points and eventually the title, but he was in full-form last night.
“It was not easy last season for him but he’s a keeper at a high level — you can’t be at Barcelona and Chile without being at a high level. He deserved the performance, without him we would not be in the next round,” said Pep. “For Claudio, he’s here to play but he’s a good professional and he has to be ready — you never know what happens in football. But it’s not easy to come in for games like this.”
Man City would like to overlook this match and continue with their sensational form in the Premier League when they go away from home to take on West Brom on the weekend. They sit comfortably at the top of the table, with a five-point gap with rivals United.
Written by Himangshu Das
Following dream off the pitch by penning down all the latest happenings inside the world of the beautiful game known as Football, trying to make it big.. one day.