Moneybags Manchester City were forced to dig deep to beat Sky Bet Championship leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers last night.
The £ multi-million squad were taken all the way past the regulation 90 minutes and past the 30 minutes of extra time before emerging victorious 4-1 on penalties.
It was a case of top-vs-top as Premier League table-toppers Manchester City entertained Sky Bet Championship leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers at their Etihad Stadium. Both teams put on a show, with Wolves emerging with much credit for the display, despite the heartbreak of a loss on penalties to the classy Blues.
However, that ‘credit where credit’s due’ attitude was soured a little by Pep Guardiola’s criticism not of Wolves for the need of the game to have to go to penalties, but to the ball itself. In an excuse that will rank alongside train companies blaming ‘leaves on the line’ or ‘the wrong type of snow’, Manchester City boss Guardiola blamed the Mitre ball being used as the reason for City’s failings.
Guardiola, quoted in the Guardian and other sources after the game, weighed in with his comments on the match ball branding it as “unacceptable for a high-level competition.”
The former Barcelona supremo then went on to savage the ball even more with barbs such as the following diatribe. In this lengthy rant, the former Spain legend savagely said:
“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.” – The Guardian 24th October 2017
Guardiola’s wrath at the ball has bounced back and forth across the media all day, and his manner of criticism has left the EFL a little deflated. However, around six hours ago the EFL bounced back all pumped up with a statement of their own on the matter.
In a direct response to Guardiola, the EFL statement, in its entirety, read as below:
“The Mitre ball used in this season’s Carabao Cup is of exactly the same technical specification as the balls used in the Sky Bet EFL and Checkatrade Trophy.
All of which are tested in accordance with the “FIFA Quality Programme for Footballs” and meet the “FIFA Quality Pro” standard. All balls used in the professional game are required to meet this standard.
Clearly, preference is a subjective matter, but overall the entertainment provided across last night’s Round Four ties would suggest that the ball used is not having a negative impact in the competition.
We will look to engage with Mr Guardiola and Manchester City to fully understand any concerns in advance of their Round Five tie.” EFL website 24 October 2017
Thankfully the is football and not tennis so it’s not a case of new balls please.