Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes Manchester United’s exit from the Capital One Cup could benefit them in the long run.
Man United were knocked out by Middlesbrough on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes. The Reds were second best against the Championship club and will be gutted to miss out on the first chance at winning silverware this season.
The Cup defeat could prove to be beneficial, however, given the number of games in the competition.
If United were to win the competition, they would have another four games to play, alongside their full Premier League and Champions League schedule and Carragher thinks their loss could be a blessing in disguise.
“We’d all say Man City are the team we all fancy to win the title but I think for United and Arsenal it may not be the end of the world,” Carragher said.
“Those three weeks that you get [from not playing in the Capital One Cup], the training sessions with the manager, fresh for the weekend. It could actually help them in the long run. They’ll be disappointed going out, the chance of a trophy gone, but in terms of the long run for the Champions League and trying to put pressure on Man City, it could actually work in their favour.”
The Sky Sports pundit has a point. In the same way that the Champions League can sometimes hamper progress for a team’s domestic title push, the Capital One Cup could have done the same. It would have meant United had to play three more midweek games and with the Reds involvement in the FA Cup set to start in January, they will have yet another competition on their hands.
However, the chance to give youngsters a chance and allow the squad to rotate and get playing time is now gone due to the defeat. The League Cup provides an opportunity to give fringe players a runout and after the losses for both Arsenal and Chelsea, it could have been an easier trophy to win.
United still haven’t won any silverware since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and the Capital One Cup could have been the one to end the drought. However, they will turn their attention back to the Premier League and try get their title push back on track.