Leeds United supporters have been slightly quieter in the Transfer Tavern in the last few hours after seeing their team bow out of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men went into their clash with fellow Championship side Preston North End unbeaten in all six matches they had played in the 2018/19 season, four wins and one draw of which coming in the second tier to sit at the summit after five rounds of fixtures. Yet their participation in the Carabao Cup is over for another year as goals from Daniel Johnson and Brandon Barker sealed a comfortable victory for the ten men of Preston, thus booking their place in round three.
Thus, there have been some disappointed Leeds fans up and down the country in recent times, although several have taken to Twitter to express some satisfaction that their side are out of the competition, as they can now focus fully on their league campaign.
And those Leeds fans are absolutely right, as the recent setback on Tuesday night could actually turn out to be a blessing.
Ultimately, it has already been a busy start to the 2018/19 season for Championship clubs given five matches have already been played in the 26 days since the season began, not to mention the two rounds in the Carabao Cup.
And while maintaining winning momentum is something many managers will point to when preparing for a match in the cup, there is little doubt that a run in the Carabao Cup could be seen as a distraction from league exertions, given a run in the competition will keep adding more midweek fixtures to the calendar.
Head coach Bielsa is likely to be disappointed that his side were knocked out by Preston on Tuesday, especially given the visitors were down to ten men for over an hour, but exiting the competition now means that, until the FA Cup gets underway in January, their focus can be purely on the league.
The Whites have made a magnificent start to the new Championship season to sit top of the pile after five matches, and they have the chance to make a statement of intent by beating second place Middlesbrough at Elland Road on Friday night – win that match, and the Preston defeat will soon be forgotten.
Ultimately, while cup success should never be scoffed at, the likelihood is that Leeds aren’t going to go on and win the Carabao Cup – it’s not beyond the realms of possibility, but it’s highly unlikely.
Yet promotion back to the Premier League for the first time since 2004 is a distinct possibility, and not having the added pressure of more midweek games in another competition can only be beneifical to Bielsa’s side as they seek to return to the top-flight.
Thus, while some Leeds fans will be frustrated with Tuesday night’s result, several are absolutely spot on to suggest that the recent setback may actually turn out to be a blessing.
Leeds fans… what do you think? Let us know!