Jamie O'Rourke...
Missed Opportunity
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The League cup, Carling Cup, Capital One Cup, whatever you want to call it, doesn't matter does it?

It's an irrelevance. An irritation. A Mickey Mouse cup that's great if you win it but in the grand scheme of things doesn't matter. If you go out in the early rounds, so what?

Well actually it does matter. To a club like ours, it should matter a lot. I can understand Manchester City not being bothered but we should be.

I wish it didn't but it does.

Barring qualification for Europe, each season we enter 3 competitions. Before a balls been kicked, we're out of one because despite the great start to the season, we're not going to win the league.

So that leaves you two cup competitions as potential roads to success. Treat one with contempt and before you're into October, you've only got one trophy to play for

Contempt maybe a strong word. I don't doubt for one moment that David Moyes approached the match the other night wanting to win. An opportunity to not only progress in the competition but a chance to maintain momentum. So why make the changes?

False confidence following the start to the season or general apathy towards the competition?

With the odd exception, Elland Road has never been good to us. So why on a wet and windy night, against a Neil Warnock side, do we play Junior in the middle of the park?

You can only imagine their team talk before kick off.

Some will argue that the "established" players were as bad, if not worse than some of the new faces. Some will argue that these fringe players may be called upon at some stage of the season so if you don't give them minutes now, when do you.

I understand both points. I disagree with both points.

Yes, the established players were poor on the night but you make the changes we did, it unsettles everyone. The back four never looks comfortable with Jan Mucha behind them and in fairness, you can't blame them.  

As for the second point, yes players need minutes and an opportunity to see what they can do but should that be at the expense of a potential trophy?

If you want to rest players or introduce youth/new signings, why not start strong, get a lead and then make changes? As it was, we had key players such as Fellaini, Pienaar and Jelavic out there for a large chunk of the match anyway and instead of cruising, they were chasing a game.

What's more likely to cause injury?

It can be long, tough season but I've never understood squad rotation in September.

We've never been strong enough to make wholesale changes and yet, year on year we do and I'm beginning to wonder when the penny will drop?

Some fans and indeed pundits are saying Champions League qualification isn't beyond us this year and that top four should be the aim. With a great start to the season so far, it's easy to go along with that.

But realistically a Europa League spot is still the target. The same target that could be achieved in February, with a trophy to boot with the right application and a good draw.

Yes it's been a great start to the season, with performances generally as good as results but we can't afford to take our eye of the ball, even for a moment.

All said and done, if the glamour and riches of Champions League football befall us, few will remember a murky night in West Yorkshire. Maybe that's the bigger picture. Maybe it is just a Mickey Mouse Cup that doesn't matter. But maybe that's just a default excuse we all throw out when we come out of the competition too early.

For now, it feels like another opportunity lost. A mistake. Maybe another season where silverware may very well elude us.

Let's hope I'm wrong. Jamie O'Rourke

Comments about Missed Opportunity
Took my sons with me to Leeds, so I spent a few quid. Didn't bother me too much about the result. It is the "Bobs greengrocer" after all. The performance was more of a concern! We cannot fight on too many fronts and those players from the first half looked overawed and reticent. We must husband our reserves to suit our needs. We spend huge amounts of time and money doing P.L. home and away, so that is our first priority. If Moyes had gone full strength and any of them were injured in said game he would of been pilloried. Use that cup to blood. We found out a lot on Tuesday.
Jon G, Merseyside, 11:39 AM 1/10/2012
Even with the all the changes the team fielded should have been able to win or at least make a good go of it given that Leeds were without 6 regulars. The fact we didn't was not David Moyes fault but the senior players who played who were all abysmal and never gave any help or encouragement to the lads who were put in.
It would be nice to get some silverware but the League Cup fixtures always come at bad times for clubs with squads as threadbare as ours. I would sooner us continue to concentrate on staying in the top six and aim for Europe that way. At least with the FA Cup you get dedicated weekends for it instead of inconventiently situated midweek matches.
Seamus, Litherland, 10:38 PM 29/09/2012
Totally agree I posted the short version of this posting earlier on this site... 6 games plus the Final and you are in Europe! IF you lose against 1 of the top 4 you are still in Europe... So why Play the reserves and lose??? Arsenal have done it for years but they have the squad..we dont! I blame Moyes not the team, you can only work with whatever tools you are given and the night of the Leeds game our regular players were given 6 new tools to work with...Rant over... Well done today 2nd in the league if only for a few hours!
Richy Styles, Kirkdale, 5:26 PM 29/09/2012
I could not agree more with this post. Maybe it is because I am an "old school" fan but I measure success of a club on trophies. Surely when other people discuss how successful a club is they generally measure it on what honours they have - not how consistently they finish in a certain position in the league. We must must must take this competition seriously! It is a trophy this club has never won and I for one, would be over the moon should we win it. It is probably the easiest trophy to win but year on year we bomb out to clubs more interested in it than us.
alpha1, engand, 2:11 PM 29/09/2012
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