Jose Mourinho has suggested scrapping the EFL Cup could result in Premier League clubs enjoying greater success in Europe.
Mourinho guided Manchester United to EFL Cup and Europa League glory last season, but English sides have struggled in the Champions League in recent years – only Chelsea (2013-14) and Manchester City (2015-16) have progressed as far as the semi-finals since the Blues won Europe’s top competition in 2012.
United cruised into the fourth round of the League Cup with a 4-1 win over Burton Albion on Wednesday, but Mourinho made nine changes to his starting XI.
With United’s Premier League rivals also making sweeping alterations for their fixtures – a much-changed Liverpool side losing at Leicester City – Mourinho believes England’s packed schedule can be a problem.
He told the BBC: “You know, if the competition is an official competition, it is important for Manchester United and for me as a manager and I want the players to think the same way.
“If you ask me ‘could English football survive or even be better without this competition?’ Maybe.
“Maybe we would be fresher for European competitions, for example.
“But we have this competition, we have to respect it, we have to respect the sponsors, we have to respect the opponents, we have to respect the professionalism of all of us trying to do the best.
“If we can win it, we win it. If we don’t win it is because the opponents were better than us.”