Willy Caballero: Manuel Pellegrini claims he would rather have lost to Liverpool than have picked Joe Hart

Selection of understudy Caballero, who had played in every round prior to the final, ultimately justified after shoot-out heroics

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Manuel Pellegrini has said he would have rather lost the Capital One Cup final to Liverpool than select Joe Hart, such was the honour he wanted to show goalkeeping understudy Willy Caballero.

There was debate prior to the final at Wembley about whether Pellegrini should stick with Caballero, who had featured in every previous round, or bring in Hart.

Ultimately Pellegrini stuck with Caballero and the decision was fully vindicated with the Argentine putting in a sound performance before saving spot-kicks from Lucas, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana in the shoot-out that followed the 1-1 draw.

Speaking after the match, Pellegrini claimed there was never any doubt that he would stick to his word and select Caballero and that he would rather have lost to Liverpool than renege on his promise.

On sticking with Caballero, he said: "I prefer to win it this way, because I was pleased to win the title for the players, fans, the staff but for Willy.

"I preferred to lose the title than lose the word (of picking him)."

The victorious Pellegrini, who will be replaced by Pep Guardiola in the summer, added: "I think we deserved to win the game, we missed too many chances, played better than Liverpool.

"We are working hard, in the middle of the season, it is important for us to keep fighting now.

"I was concerned about the amount of chances we missed. After that we played better in extra-time.

"It's a very important moment, and it's always very special to win a title at Wembley."