Manchester United play EFL Cup third round match on Wednesday against Burton Albion. The Reds start the defence of the trophy they won last season against the Championship side. Importance of this competition is never on the cards for Manchester United.
The goal is the same – win the trophy. Jose Mourinho is known for competing at every level and the EFL Cup is no different. It may not be the FA Cup, but it is a trophy after all. As a winner, Mourinho does not like other teams to be better than his. Therefore, just make sure you finish in front of every other team.
However, there have been recent comments from managers and media considering the importance of EFL Cup. Mourinho talked about is another competition he wants to win, while Mauricio Pochettino is not thrilled about it. His team are in the Champions League for the second successive season and doing well in Europe must be a priority for them.
Still, Manchester United are the club that shows this competition matters.
Learning From Manchester United
It has not been very easy for Manchester United since Sir Alex Ferguson left. Trophies stopped coming to the red part of Manchester. The fans were getting worried the trend might continue. Is the club going to a similar path like the one Liverpool had in recent decades?
No, it is not. The club only needed to regain their winning mentality. The best way to do that was not to win seven or eight Premier League matches in a row and hope you will end up in second. It was always about winning silverware. And that is what Manchester United did.
The first trophy won under Jose Mourinho was technically Community Shield, yet the EFL Cup was the first one played over more than a single match. Manchester United were lifting a cup, celebrating on a podium. They were triumphant at Wembley. That is what makes the difference in players’ minds.
Some other clubs should follow that lead. Give the importance to this competition it deserves and you might win it. There are not as many teams and often youth players are starting for the strongest clubs. Win a couple of games and you will be in later stages of it.
Liverpool, Tottenham And Everton Should Lead The Pack
Teams like these should be the ones trying very hard to win this trophy. The players will be much happier, even if it was just EFL Cup. Imagine the fans’ feelings at Southampton about the last season, should have they won the final match instead of Manchester United. They would have been ecstatic and very optimistic about the bright future.
Manchester United treat this competition like another chance to remind people the club has done better than anyone else. That can make a big difference in the years to come, getting players used to playing finals. After all, just compare the chaotic nature of Man United’s EFL Cup final display and the latter one, in Europa League final.
Liverpool would have used this trophy very well in preparing their team for bigger ones. Tottenham want to impose themselves as one of the best teams in England. The best step would be a smaller one – winning a trophy like EFL Cup. Smaller steps are sometimes better if you crave for continuity. Or even Everton, they have struggled so far this year, but a good cup run can make a difference in perception. It would show their intent for years to come.
Respect EFL Cup. Manchester United do and they win it every now and then.