I have attended more football managers’ press conferences than I care to recall and listened to plenty of excuses trotted out for a defeat or a poor performance.
But Pep Guardiola topped the lot this week after his Manchester City side had been pushed all the way to penalties by Wolves in the League Cup.
Players too tired? No. The pesky Championship side kicked them off the park? Nope. The grass was too long? Wrong again.
Guardiola was to claim that the ball used in the League Cup was too light and ‘impossible to score’ with.
They use a different bag of wind in the Premier League than they do in the Football League.
With the League Cup, to use its non-sponsor title, a Football League event, games are played with a Mitre ball used in the Championship, League One and League Two.
In the top flight, a Nike ball is used.
Yes, there will be slight differences, but not to extent Guardiola claims.
With the talented players City have at their disposal, they should impress playing with a fly-away beachball, let alone a Mitre.
Guardiola’s claims stank of sour grapes, not an ounce of credit given to Wolves.
It is not as if City had lost, they had won the tie, even if they made hard work of it.
By the sounds of it, Wolves were the better side and could quite easily have caused a shock.
To point the finger at the ball was baffling – after all other sides coped without their managers going into meltdown.
Six other Premier League teams progressed to the last eight by scoring goals with the Mitre ball on Tuesday and Wednesday night.
Guardiola has already called the tournament a waste of energy and maybe him taking aim at the ball – better than some of his players did evidently – was just part of that mind-set.
The EFL launched a strong defence of the Mitre used and rightly so.
But such moral high ground has probably been lost by the problems which surrounded the quarter-final draw for the League Cup on Thursday afternoon.
Following on from doing the draw for earlier rounds in Thailand and China, indeed one of them at 4.15am BST, the EFL’s cunning plan was to do this one live on Twitter.
For whatever reason, there was a problem at the Twitter end of things and it didn’t happen live.
Instead, a pre-recorded draw – done by two former cricketers – was tweeted out an hour and 45 minutes late.
What an utter shambles and an anti-climax.
Millions of people tweet video and pictures without a problem, so why this proved such a problem is baffling.
Cup draws don’t need to be wild and left-field, already the anticipation and excitement is in situ.
Just do them at a decent hour when most fans can watch them.
Back to Guardiola and his footballs. Is this a case of a manager getting detatched from reality in the bubble which surrounds the Premier League?
Like any Preston fan, I am desperate to see them reach the top flight in the not too distant future.
If they do, if moans about the weight of footballs can be avoided at all costs by anyone in the PNE hierarchy, I would be eternally grateful.
Reaching the Premier League is a topic which has been much discussed by North End this week.
Alex Neil spoke about it with an air of determination at Monday’s fans’ forum and continued later in the week when he did his pre-match press conference.
Likewise Ben Pearson after he had put pen to paper on his new contract.
As I wrote in this column a week ago, there has been a sea change of thinking this season at Deepdale.
I’m sure there has always been a determination to get to the top flight, but this year it is being spoken about and not whispered in corners.
The ongoing renewals of contracts is part of that push upwards.
It is a two-way thing, with North End protecting their assets and the players being rewarded.
The plan is to avoid key players reaching the latter stages of their contracts, as Bailey Wright did last year.
A club’s hand is somewhat weakened when the clock has ticked into that final 12 months of a deal.
The new terms which Pearson agreed this week, sees him through to June 2021. Such a period of time gives him the time to develop further and for North End to get the best out of him.
Pearson’s market value has risen too with the longer contract.
It has been some rise for the midfielder at Deepdale.
He had a decent opening spell in Preston colours, having signed from Manchester United in January 2016.
But for the opening weeks of last season, Pearson was very much out of the first-team picture.
He was one of the players to benefit from that League Cup win at Bournemouth 13 months ago.
Like Chris Maxwell did, Pearson has not looked back since the 3-2 success.
Some players turn out to be an instant success, others need a game or a run of them to start showing their worth.
Here’s to another few years of Pearson – hopefully with a few less yellow cards.