Karen Carney believes Newcastle United fans would happily come fifth and miss out on the Champions League if it means winning the Carabao Cup later this month.
The Magpies are competing on two fronts at the moment, and are in contention to qualify for next season’s Champions League. Eddie Howe’s side are currently fourth, and have a one-point lead over Tottenham in fifth.
But Newcastle are also preparing to head to Wembley, and will face Manchester United in the Carabao Cup final on February 26th.
It will be the club’s first cup final since 1999, and a chance to end a trophy drought that has gone on since 1969.
To be competing on two fronts at this stage in the season is unprecedented for Newcastle, and it sums up just how successful the current campaign has been.
But if Toon fans could only pick one out of cup success or Champions League qualification, Carney believes that the choice is an easy one.
Karen Carney thinks Newcastle fans would rather win the cup than qualify for the Champions League
Speaking on Optus Sport’s Matchday Live Extra, Carney commented on Newcastle’s bid to finish in the top four.
“It’ll be tough but we do need to remember that they had a semi-final and got themselves into a final on Tuesday and that might have had an impact on the second half intensity and control.
“But they’ve got to be more creative and score more goals and maybe will that intensity drop off at the back-end of the season? But defensively they look very good so that’s what’s keeping them where they are.
“They brought Anthony Gordon in but I think they needed another creative player to help them in the final third to open teams up in certain situations.
“I don’t think they will be in the top four but the fans wouldn’t be disappointed if they win the cup and don’t make the top four, they’d love that.
“They’re ahead of project, well ahead of it.”
Cup success has to be the preference for Toon fans
Personally, I think Carney is right. I would happily miss out on Champions League football next season if it meant winning the Carabao Cup.
Silverware is the aim of the game, and it is something that the club has been starved of for a crazy amount of time.
While finishing in the top four would be better financially, fans are surely more interested in moments. Seeing your team play at Wembley, scoring at Wembley, winning at Wembley – it’s what football is all about.
Champions League qualification would open up a wealth of commercial opportunities for the club, and it would make us more appealing for incoming players.
But I bet most fans would accept missing out if it meant winning a trophy.