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Five British managers who should take the Capital One Cup seriously

25 Aug | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Five British managers who should take the Capital One Cup seriously

It is an embarrassment to English football that top-flight clubs disregarding an eminently winnable competition has become acceptable practice

Five British bosses are seven games away from achieving their greatest accomplishment in football management.

That is, of course, assuming they all give it a proper go.

As the majority of Premier League clubs enter the Capital One Cup at its second-round stage, Mark Hughes, Garry Monk, Steve McClaren, Tim Sherwood and Tony Pulis must consider how seriously to take the competition.

There should be no dilemma.

Success in sport is measured by victory and it is an embarrassment to English football that top-flight clubs disregarding an eminently winnable competition has become acceptable practice.

For sides not in Europe – those that are receive byes to the third round – there really is no excuse not to take it seriously.

Prioritising the Premier League will be the reason given for doing so – and probably hailed as pragmatic – but managers should take greater pride in their work.

Take Hughes, for instance.

A serial winner as a player, the closest he has come to achieving silverware in management was reaching the semi-finals of the FA Cup with Blackburn Rovers more than 10 years ago.

The former Wales international will probably cite the modest ambitions of the clubs he has been in charge of as the main reason for this and, to a degree, he is correct.

But what an opportunity he has to validate the fine work he is doing at Stoke by genuinely challenging for honours.

Hughes’ men travel to League Two side Luton Town and are 4/6 to progress from a tie that should be negotiable providing the team is appropriately prepared.

Having followed the narrow opening-day defeat at home to Liverpool with creditable draws at Tottenham and Norwich, the match on Tuesday is an opportunity for the Potters to record their first win of the season.

It will be a missed opportunity if they fail to do so.

Like Hughes, Swansea manager Monk has rightfully received acclaim for the excellent job that he has done.

But rather than settle for a top-half league finish and a pat on the back, he should be determined to continue to create history.

Having won the League Cup as a player with the Welsh club in 2013 – the only major trophy of his career – Monk will still remember what that success felt like for the players, staff and supporters.

That should be the inspiration for his side, who are 30/100 to overcome League Two opponents York at the Liberty Stadium.

For McClaren, meanwhile, making a concerted effort at winning the trophy would ingratiate himself to the Newcastle fans who have become accustomed to seeing their side routinely exit both domestic cup competitions in the early stages during the inauspicious Mike Ashley years.

Already a winner of this competition with Middlesbrough in 2004, delivering the first major prize to St James’ Park since the 1955 FA Cup would complete the redemption of the lampooned former England boss that began five years ago when he won the Eredivisie title with FC Twente.

McLaren’s side host League Two side Northampton and are 7/20 to progress.

Aston Villa boss Sherwood, a proud FA Cup finalist last season, has confirmed he will make changes for their visit of Notts County while also stressing the importance of trying to win a trophy.

Regardless of the alterations, his side should have more than enough for the League Two side at Villa Park and are 4/9 to move into the third round.

And then there is Pulis, who took Stoke to the final of the world’s oldest cup competition in 2011.

The Welshman has enjoyed a stellar career in management, but is yet to revel in the prestige of winning one of the game’s major honours.

Pulis has the ideal opportunity to try and amend that at home to Port Vale, where the Baggies are 2/5 secure the victory that will take them within six games of success.

Should the aforementioned sides progress, then sterner challenges will obviously be forthcoming.

But the television money from the Premier League has enabled all clubs to invest millions of pounds in transfer fees and salaries on talent from around the world.

If having a threadbare squad or worrying about fixture congestion was a legitimate excuse before, then it shouldn’t be now.

The extra games should be seen as an opportunity to improve – as opposed to a distraction.

Adjusting training schedules to ensure players are in peak condition for matches is merely the requirement of the modern game – something Luis Enrique and Jose Mourinho, two coaches who rarely alter their starting line-ups, proved last season.

Hughes, Monk, McClaren, Sherwood and Pulis are all ambitious and presumably aspire to take charge at a higher level.

Successfully navigating the rigours of top-flight management – plus winning a trophy – would go a long way in proving they are capable of doing so.

Capital One Cup betting

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