Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has criticised the weight of the match ball used in the League Cup after his team failed to score in their fourth round match against Wolverhampton Wanderers and won 4-1 on penalties.
Manchester City scrape past Wolves
Premier League leaders City have scored 32 goals in nine games so far, the most by any team, but failed to find the net against the Championship side as the score remained 0-0 after 120 minutes of active play.
Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo saved two of Wolves' penalties to help City win and Guardiola blamed the Mitre ball for his side's inability to score.
"It is not acceptable, the ball was unacceptable for a high-level competition," Guardiola said after the match.
"It is too light, there is no weight, nothing. 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, but that is not a serious ball for a serious competition."
Yaya Toure supports ball complaints
'I don't like it, to be honest,' said City and Ivory Coast midfielder Toure. 'They can do better than that. It's too light. Even in my country they can't use those kind of balls.
'I think they have to be better than that because the ball was too soft. It's rubbish but that's fine. The World Cup one (Jabulani) was better than that one.'
Claudio Bravo comes to Pep's rescue
Bravo has been heavily criticised for sloppy performances since joining City in 2016 and Brazilian Ederson has been Guardiola's first-choice keeper this season.
"Without Claudio we would not be in the next round," Guardiola added. "I am so, so happy for him because it has not always been easy. He made a lot of important saves for us."
Striker Sergio Aguero, who captained the side, missed out on the chance to become City's record goalscorer but will have an opportunity again when Guardiola's side travel to West Bromwich Albion in the league on Saturday.
Cup authorities defend Mitre ball
But the English Football League (EFL) released a statement defending the ball and adding it would talk to Guardiola over his complaints.
'The Mitre ball used in this season's Carabao (League) Cup is of exactly the same technical specification as the balls used in the Sky Bet EFL (English Football League) and Checkatrade Trophy, all of which are tested in accordance with the 'FIFA Quality Programme for Footballs' and meet the 'FIFA Quality Pro' standard,' the statement said.
'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.'