Pep Guardiola has hailed the “outstanding” performance of Claudio Bravo after the Manchester City goalkeeper saved two penalties in Tuesday’s EFL Cup shoot-out win over Wolves even as he condemned the matchball which he claimed allowed the second-tier opposition to hold his team for 120 minutes.
Bravo – the understudy to number one keeper Ederson – denied Alfred N’Diaye and Conor Coady as City survived 4-1 in a shoot-out to reach the quarter-finals, following 120 scoreless minutes.
The 34-year-old Chile international, who arrived from Barcelona last season, has been forced to take a back seat to Brazilian counterpart Ederson but Guardiola heaped praise on the veteran.
“Claudio helped us to qualify for the next round,” Guardiola told Sky Sports.
“You analyse how many chances we had and how many they had and we had more, but in the special moments Claudio was outstanding.
“I don’t know [if it was his best game for City] but of course he was so determined in terms of their one against ones with the goalkeeper, and then to save two penalties – so he is the man of the match by far.
“It is good for us, it is important to continue in that competition. It is a special competition for many reasons. We played with determination.”
Guardiola was also unhappy with the Mitre match ball, which is usually used in Football League matches.
“It is not acceptable. The ball was unacceptable for a high-level competition,” the Spaniard 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 [but the] 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.”