LEEDS United manager Neil Warnock has renewed his appetite for Cup football.
His side put their patchy league form behind them in their 3-0 Capital One Cup triumph over Southampton and Warnock is setting his sights on winning the competition.
“We have talked about getting as far as we can and if we get beat, we get beat. I haven’t really tried in the Cup for a few years,” said Warnock after seeing his side cruise into the last eight.
Warnock was referring to his Sheffield United side’s run to the last four of both the FA and League Cups in 2003.
Since then, he has shared Southampton manager Nigel Adkins’s views on rotation, and had sympathy with his opposite number at Elland Road.
“I’ve been in Nigel’s position at QPR, where you wonder about your team and your Premier League position, which is more important financially,” he said.
“It is a conundrum, but we can only beat who is put in front of us.”
Southampton are struggling in the Premier League, but the players who were involved in their weekend defeat to Tottenham are hardly likely to worry about retaining their places for the trip to West Brom on Monday.
Adkins made 11 changes to his side for the game with Leeds and it was hard to list one Saints player who started the game who emerged with credit. Debutant substitute Lloyd Isgrove was the only player to draw praise from his manager.
Despite shouldering the blame for the loss on the basis of his decision to field a new side, Adkins did concede that those who played will have to carry the consequences as well.
“It was a poor result for us. It was a very attacking formation on paper, but on the pitch you have got to go and produce it.
“You’re playing for Southampton Football Club, so every game matters. We’ve got supporters who have travelled, and we’ve put a team out that I expected to win this game.
“I expect the players to go and perform, so there’s obviously going to be consequences of the result and performance for many people.
“We’ve come out to win a game of football. On paper and in theory that was possible, but we haven’t produced.”
The Saints were hardly allowed to perform by an on-song Leeds, who followed up their third-round defeat of Everton with another top-flight scalp.
Michael Tonge scored a deserved first-half opener, before El-Hadji Diouf and Luciano Becchio’s penalty wrapped things up inside the last three minutes. It had taken Saints until the 70th minute to produce a shot.