Jose Mourinho hints English football could live without League Cup
MANCHESTER -- Jose Mourinho has suggested English clubs could benefit in Europe if the League Cup was scrapped.
Mourinho watched his Manchester United team begin their defence of the trophy with a comfortable 4-1 win over Championship side Burton Albion at Old Trafford.
But afterwards he hinted the competition, first introduced ahead of the 1960-61 season, ought to be abandoned, although he insisted, while it remained, he will still take it seriously.
Mourinho 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 the 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, 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."
Of the top European leagues, only England and France have two domestic cup competitions, both a league cup and an association cup.
Mourinho has won the English League Cup, this year sponsored by energy drink Carabao, four times during spells at Chelsea and United.
United's success last season was their fifth.
But their run to the final last season contributed to a 64-game campaign during which they also reached the final of the Europa League.
It prompted Mourinho to complain about fixture congestion at the end of last season.
"The number of matches has been unbelievable," he said.
"We've played a complete Premier League season minus one match in the space of five months whilst suffering from five big injuries."
Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.