Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini says he would rather have lost the Capital One Cup final than drop goalkeeper Willy Caballero.
The Argentine, 34, had started every round of the League Cup this season and was picked ahead of Joe Hart against Liverpool at Wembley on Sunday.
Caballero went on to save three spot kicks as Manchester City won 3-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
“I would prefer to lose a title than lose my word,” said Pellegrini.
“I think my word is more important than football.
“I think we deserved to win the game before penalties, but I’m happy to win it that way with Willy as a great hero.”
Caballero had received criticism after a 5-1 FA Cup fifth-round defeat by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge a week earlier.
However, Pellegrini said he never planned to reinstate Hart against Liverpool.
“Maybe most of the media were waiting for him to make a mistake and criticise my decision but I promised he would play both cups,” he added.
“He had to play against Chelsea with a young team so he conceded five goals but I never lost trust in him because I know how good a player he is.”
‘FA Cup decision linked to cup win’
Pellegrini had fielded a weakened side against Chelsea in the FA Cup, mindful of a midweek trip to Dynamo Kiev in the last 16 of the Champions League as well as Sunday’s final.
He was rewarded with two victories, and the 62-year-old Chilean added: “I took a difficult decision last week not to continue in the FA Cup.
“That decision received a lot of criticism but as a manager I have to make a decision that is the best for the team and I am sure the wins in the Champions League and against Liverpool were absolutely linked in with the decision not to expose 13 players to three games in a week, because we are not able to do that.”
‘City not giving up on the league’
Manchester City face Liverpool again on Wednesday, this time in the Premier League.
Leicester’s win against Norwich on Saturday means Pellegrini’s side trail the league leaders by nine points.
“We are not giving up on the Premier League,” said Pellegrini, who will be replaced by Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola at the end of the season.
“All teams will lose points so we will continue, try to win the next game against Liverpool and go until the end.”