Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has suggested English football may "even be better" without the Carabao Cup following the Red Devils' 4-1 win over Burton Albion in the competition on Wednesday.
Per Adam Higgins for United's official website, he told Sky Sports and MUTV:
"If the competition is an official competition then it is important for Manchester United and for me as a manager. If you ask me could the English football survive or even be better without this competition? Maybe. Maybe we would be fresher for European competition for example. But we have this competition, we have to respect the sponsors, we have to respect the opponents and a lot of us are trying to do our best."
The League Cup is less prestigious than the other three major trophies available to United this season, but Mourinho was happy to benefit from it last term when it became his first piece of significant silverware at the club.
Indeed, the Special One has enjoyed victory in the League Cup a number of times and is the only manager currently working in the Football League to have won it, per Sky Sports' Adam Bate:
Adam Bate @ghostgoal
League Cup wins.. Jose Mourinho: 4 Other 91 managers: 02017-9-19 10:51:16
The competition also offers the chance to secure a trophy ahead of the run-in to the end of the season, which is useful if the club are focused on the Premier League title or balancing duties in Europe or the FA Cup as well.
What's more, it offers Mourinho the chance to rotate his side, something he took full advantage of on Wednesday, making nine changes.
Per Higgins, he added: "The players, many of them, needed 90 minutes to play because many of them were not playing a lot during the season."
Despite the changes it still represented a strong lineup from the Red Devils, with all 11 players being senior internationals.
Unsurprisingly, United were comfortable against the Championship side, per Marca's Chris Winterburn:
Chris Winterburn @cmwinterburn
Level of opposition must be noted but Martial and Rashford enjoyed tonight, both played with confidence and tried things.2017-9-20 20:56:39
All in all, it appeared to be more or less the ideal evening for Mourinho's men—it improved match fitness for those who haven't played a significant role thus far and gave confidence-boosting outings for the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, who supplied three of their four goals.
Barring an injury crisis, Mourinho will likely be quite grateful for the Carabao Cup in the coming months.