The carling cup is now a successful season? :googly:Sir Alex Ferguson says Manchester United will do well to lift a trophy this season due to the increased competition for the top prizes.
The Red Devils boss refused to accept that the Carling Cup is a lesser prize after the club crashed out of the UEFA Champions League and FA Cup prematurely, and are well adrift of champions Chelsea in the race for the Premiership title.
With Wigan Athletic providing the opposition at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Sunday, live on Sky Sports 1, the United manager wants his side to take the opportunity to win the competition for only the second time in their illustrious history.
"There are only four trophies available every year," he reasoned. "And, with the competition now generated in the Premier League and the money thrown at it, not just by Manchester United and Chelsea but by all clubs, there is a tremendous demand and pressure on all these clubs with great histories to deliver and win a trophy.
"With that kind of competition we face nowadays, winning one trophy is good, I'm telling you.
"No matter what it is, you have to take that as a successful season because there are teams who are not going to win a trophy this year - big clubs, maybe not as world-renowned as Manchester United, but certainly big, big clubs with great histories."
Although some pundits and supporters will question whether 2005/2006 will go down as a successful season for United, even with victory this weekend, defeat would be a massive blow for the Old Trafford outfit.
Ferguson accepts that the glory days will be difficult to recapture but paid tribute to Wigan ahead of the big game.
"We had a great spell in the 1990s, a phenomenal spell," he stated. "But from that moment on of winning the European Cup, there was a catch-up by all clubs, realising that a British team could win the European Cup.
"It was great for British football because of that, but it also created a far bigger demand from other clubs to do the same and we are facing stiffer opposition now.
"It's quite right that Wigan are bringing a bit of romance to it with what they have achieved over the years and where they started from, coming into the League in 1977.
"The drive of Dave Whelan and the management of Paul Jewell have made them an outstanding team this year.
"Quite rightly the whole country will be behind them, and I think that's good."