Matt Le Tissier reflects on a tournament he affectionately refers to as his 'favourite'
The League Cup can claim responsibility as the birth-place of many illustrious football careers throughout its history, none more so than that of Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier.
The 45-year-old played more than 50 times in the competition for the Saints during his career, enjoying a one-in-two goalscoring record having netted 27 times overall.
The former striker was never fortunate enough to reach the showpiece final of the tournament at Wembley, but did play a part in a highly-contested semi-final against Liverpool in the late 80s, which he has fond memories of.
“I used to love the competition,” he told capitalonecup.co.uk, at the launch night of this season's Capital One Cup in Trafalgar Square.
“My goalscoring record in the Cup was a lot better than in league games. I was averaging a goal every other game so it was my favourite competition.
“I loved it because realistically you weren’t going to win the league as a Southampton player, but you always felt in the Cup that if the draw was kind to you that you had a chance. That was the only real opportunity for me to win a medal in my career.”
Le Tissier’s first ever goals in competitive football came in the League Cup and they sparked a significant event in English football history.
The year was 1986 and Southampton's opponents were Ron Atkinson's Manchester United, in a third round replay at The Dell.
Le Tissier's goals helped the Saints to a 4-1 triumph and Atkinson was sacked 48 hours later, paving the way for the appointment of one of the greatest managers of all time, who went on to win several trophies at Old Trafford, including four League Cups.
“Manchester United have got a lot to thank me for,” the ex-England international joked.
“Sir Alex Ferguson then turned up and dominated English football for 20 years. It could have been very different.”
Manchester United won't be adding another League Cup to their trophy cabinet this season, but Le Tissier's beloved Southampton are going well.
Ronald Koeman's men got the better of Millwall in Round 2 before coming from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates in the Third Round, setting up a Round 4 tie at Stoke City.
Le Tissier predicted the Saints to do well and has also pointed towards holders Manchester City, who thrashed Sheffield Wednesday 7-0 in Round 3, to shine.
“Southampton are taking it very seriously and I’m confident of their chances of getting far in the competition.
“Manchester City have got a strong squad no matter what side they put out and as the holders I’m sure Manuel Pellegrini will want to try and retain the Capital One Cup.”