"You want to win and these are the occasions that you remember, no matter where you come from.”
Shaun Goater believes that the 2020/21 Carabao Cup represents a great chance at silverware for the Clubs involved, and has stated the importance of picking up the first trophy of the season.
Tottenham Hotspur, Brentford, Manchester United and Manchester City are all preparing for the Semi-Finals, with a place in April’s Final up for grabs.
Speaking exclusively to the EFL ahead of the midweek Semi-Finals, Goater has been impressed with performances in the competition so far and is expecting two exciting Semi-Final ties.
“It’s lived up to all expectations this season,” he said. “It’s been fantastic, especially when you look at Brentford.”
The Sky Bet Championship side reached their first-ever League Cup Semi-Final with victory over Newcastle United in the Quarter-Finals and have undoubtedly been the story of the competition so far.
“It’s a great story, isn’t it?” Goater continued. “It’s been a great story and a great competition for them, even more so if they were to beat Tottenham and advance to the Final. They've perhaps been a bit of a surprise package, they've beaten a number of Premier League teams along the way, but I'm not surprised to see them where they are. I've watched them play, I've seen the style of football that they play and it's impressive.
“For the neutral, it’s been great and I think a lot of neutrals will want to see Brentford reach the Final because of what a good story it is. To be honest, the neutrals will probably want a different winner to Manchester City as well!”
First though, the Bees will have to face Spurs, who are looking for a first League Cup trophy since 2008, but with four-time winner Jose Mourinho in charge, it’ll be a tough test for Thomas Frank’s side.
“At Spurs, Jose Mourinho is a manager who knows how to win. He knows how to advance to the next level and reach finals, especially in this competition.
“We have four teams in the Semi-Finals that will all make for exciting Finalists, whoever it may be, but I think we’re all hoping for some very exiting games of football this week."
Seven-time winners in the history of the competition, Goater’s former club Manchester City are looking to win a fourth-consecutive Carabao Cup under Pep Guardiola, but first they must get past in-form rivals, Manchester United.
“I’m not at all surprised to see them in another Semi-Final,” he continued.
“Pep Guardiola takes this competition very seriously, he’s won it three times since being at City and he’ll be wanting to win it again. He’s a serial winner.
“Obviously with my blue hat on I want to see Manchester City win it again, but Manchester United are a club that know how to advance to finals as well and they know how to win competitions, so City have a very tough game on their hands."
As a player, Goater was part of the 1999 Play-Off winning side at Manchester City. Having also won promotion with Southend United and the EFL Trophy during his time at Rotherham United, the former striker stated the importance of winning trophies as a player.
“You want to win and these are occasions that you remember, no matter where you come from.
“As a player you remember every single experience like this. People often say that winning the Premier League is the best thing you can do as a player, but I think winning any trophy is equally the same as any other. It’s the best feeling in the world, not matter what trophy it is.”
“Momentum, a winning mentality, confidence and belief is so important in football. If you win a trophy during the season, it brings all of those things.
"As a player, if you’ve won a trophy and you look around the dressing room, it’s proof that you can do it and there is that capability within the squad. If you’ve already done it once this season why can’t you then go on and win promotion or win the Premier League.
“That's the kind of belief it brings and I think it’s really important to get a trophy in the bag before the league season is over.”
Semi-Final ties will take place as follows:
Tottenham Hotspur v Brentford
Tuesday 5 January - 19:45
Manchester United v Manchester City
Wednesday 6 January - 19:45