José Mourinho recently came out in favour of scrapping the League Cup. This is not a new idea and has been mooted in the past on a few occasions.
It has now been around since 1960 and is, therefore, in it’s 57th year. Ironically it was originally introduced to combat the growing popularity of European football and give the clubs something to stay at home and play for.
Bearing in mind that the competition ends in February, which is three months before the FA Cup reaches it’s conclusion so, on that basis, it is the latter of the two which encroaches on the European competitions the most, assuming that we still have teams competing in the Champion’s League and the Europa League at the knockout stage.
So logically, it is the FA Cup, if any, which needs to be discontinued. That, as we all know, is not going to happen so maybe managers just think that the League Cup is an easier target.
Mourinho, as is often the case, contradicts himself with his reasoning. He picked a very strong team to ensure victory against Burton Albion so that his team would progress. Why does he want his team to progress in a competition which could get in the way of his European ambitions? Not to mention the fact that he wants to consign the whole tournament to the waste bin.
Also, by winning the Europa League AND the EFL Cup last season he actually diluted considerably what he is now saying. Had he been knocked out of the Europa League well before the final then his argument may very well have held a lot more water. He could then have used the ubiquitous “too many games” and “tired players” excuses of which he has now deprived himself.
Currently there does not seem to be much agreement with Mourinho from the other managers on this subject although, at present, the silence is quite deafening, so maybe it is just under the surface, watching and waiting.
The League Cup is also used by most managers to give game time to under-used players and break some of the youth players in at a higher level. If the competition was scrapped then when would they get their chance?
The top of the Premier League is far too cut-throat for any of the managers to gamble by playing youngsters in important games, of which there are thirty eight every season!
Maybe José had his tongue firmly in his cheek when he made his remarks. That would seem more likely as the League Cup has been very kind to him and, if he could win it this season, he would hold the record for the most wins.
Alternatively, having won the Champion’s League with Porto, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, he could also think that he would have won it with Chelsea had it not been for all those games in the League Cup.
In truth, the fact that English clubs do not tend to fare very well in European competition in general has nothing to do with the League Cup, the FA Cup, the Community Shield or even the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. It has to do with not being good enough when it matters.
So to answer the original question; no, scrapping the Carabao Cup would not enhance the chances of the English teams in Europe by one jot.