September 18, 2021, 15:07

The great ball debate: What do pundits, coaches and players think of Pep Guardiola’s comments?

The great ball debate: What do pundits, coaches and players think of Pep Guardiola’s comments?

After Pep Guardiola’s criticism of EFL’s Mitre football, Sky Sports got the thoughts of pundits, coaches and players on the issue.

The English Football League will discuss Guardiola’s criticism of its Mitre ball with him after the Manchester City manager claimed it was “unacceptable”.

City and Championship club Wolves played with the ball in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup tie at the Etihad Stadium, when the hosts needed a penalty shoot-out to advance to the quarter-finals after a goalless 120 minutes.

Speaking after the game, Guardiola, whose team play with Nike and Adidas balls in the Premier League and Champions League respectively, lambasted the Mitre Delta, suggesting it was “not a serious ball for a professional game”.

A flat outburst? Or were Pep’s comments fair?

Alan Pardew on Sky Sports

They send you a couple sets of balls, and as soon as you fish them out the lads say: ‘Can we have the Nike balls back?’ This particular [Mitre] ball is light. The bigger problem is for the goalkeepers, because it moves. I remember my goalkeepers were always moaning about different balls, they like to be consistent.

Jamie Redknapp on Sky Sports

Pep didn’t mind it in the match before [a 2-1 win at West Brom]! I suppose [the change of ball] does make a bit of a difference.

Julian Speroni – Crystal Palace goalkeeper

[The Mitre ball] is a little bit lighter, but then both teams play with the same ball! So it shouldn’t be an excuse. You have time to train with it, you can practice in training, you get used to it, so it shouldn’t be an issue.

I think it’s a bit strong [from Pep]. But I don’t know, you have to respect his opinion.

While discussing the EFL Mitre football ahead of Spurs v West Ham, Jamie Redknapp played a little trick on presenter Simon Thomas…

Sam Johnstone – Aston Villa goalkeeper

I find them different to the Premier League balls. When you’re training with the Nike balls at [Manchester] United, and then you go to the Mitre ball there is a difference. But working with them every day now at Villa, you get used to them. It is what it is. A ball is a ball, and that’s it!

Chris Wilder – Sheffield United manager

If that’s the only thing he’s got to moan about, then that’s alright for him! I’m not going to moan about anything, whatever ball we’ve got to play with, we’ll have a go and try to stick it in one end, and keep it out the other!

West Brom first team coach Gerry Francis and Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder have their say on the EFL ball row

Gerry Francis – West Brom coach

I think that was the reason we lost 2-1 to Manchester City in the last round! I’m sure there has to be testing, and the balls be found fit to be used in competition.

Ledley King – Tottenham coach

I remember playing in the World Cup in 2010, and the ball was totally different, and it made things a little bit difficult. As players you want to test it out as soon as possible. When a new ball comes out as a player you look forward to testing it out and seeing how it reacts.


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