'I believe my players more than FIFA' - Guardiola not backing down in Carabao Cup ball row

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The Manchester City boss feels he has not been consulted regarding the quality of the match balls used following his recent complaints

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola accused the footballing authorities of never listening to players or managers as he defended his stance over matchballs in the Carabao Cup.

Guardiola came in for criticism after claiming the ball during his side's goalless draw with Wolves on Tuesday night was "unacceptable" and "not a serious ball for a professional game".

City eventually won 4-1 on penalties to set up a quarter-final tie against Leicester City but Yaya Toure, who scored from his attempt in the shootout, labelled the ball manufactured by Mitre as "rubbish".

Man City 15/8 to lift the Carabao Cup

The English Football League and Mitre both issued statements defending the ball, pointing out that it met FIFA standards.

Speaking ahead of City's trip to West Brom, which will be played using the Premier League's standard Nike matchball, Guardiola conceded he was not hopeful over further dialogue despite the EFL suggesting this would take place

"No, because they never ask me, or any managers or players, about anything in football today," he said. "Not here. Not anywhere.

"They decide the competition. They decide which ball they are going to play with. They decide the time. They decide the schedule. They say go right, we go right. They say go left, we go left. They say that ball, we use that ball.

"When I said my comment, it was not to criticise absolutely everything. For me, it [the ball was] not good, of course, because of what I hear from my players.

"The media said I was wrong. They are not players either. They do not know how the ball is. It's all about the players. Nothing else. But we are going to play with that ball at Leicester, so there are no complaints about that.

"We are going to play with that ball in that competition. In another competition, we play with another one. Nobody asks us - FIFA, UEFA. We are just here to do what we have to do. We go and try to play as well as possible. It's as simple as that.

"They should consult the players, especially the players. The players and the managers don't count for anything today in football."

City won 2-1 at The Hawthorns during the previous round of the EFL Cup, when Guardiola did not make complaints about the ball public after Leroy Sane's fine brace.

And he greeted the news that Mitre's product was FIFA-approved with heavy sarcasm.

"Good, perfect," Guardiola replied.

"I believe more in my players than in the FIFA standards. Much, much more. Because I see them every day. I see how the ball runs.

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"Any journalist can't judge that because they didn't touch [the ball] once.

"I don't know about the players of the other teams but, believe me, at Leicester, we are going to play with that ball.

"If the FIFA standards say it's okay, then it's okay. No problem at all."

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