For Swansea City, it was a missed opportunity.
And the word ‘opportunity’ will rankle with Garry Monk this morning, as his side squandered several in the first half at the KC Stadium last night en route to a Capital One Cup defeat against Hull City.
But while the ‘attempts on goal’ statistics, which ended 18-6 in Swansea’s favour, suggests it was a game the Swans should have won regardless – the fact is Monk ran the risk by making 10 changes to the side that drew with Everton at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.
Of course, rotation is an important part of a modern day football. And last night, Monk gave the chance to several squad members in a desperate need of first team action.
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The manger’s post match assessment, where he said “If you played that game 100 times you’d win 99,” suggests he feels it was wastefulness, and not selection, that cost his side dear.
But the Capital One Cup is a trophy the Swans were capable of winning – and had they reached the last 16, without the added load of European football to worry about, they would have been among the favourites to do so.
Indeed, the 2012/2013 season showed just how beneficial it can be for the club to take the League Cup seriously. Wins at Anfield, Stamford Bridge, and the eventual final thrashing of Bradford City at Wembley all added up to a campaign that Swansea fans and players will never forget – not to mention the only major trophy in the club’s history.
Few could have begrudged Monk for playing his strongest side last night, or in any subsequent rounds in a bid to return to Wembley again.
Of course, Swansea have not been alone in viewing the competition as second rate this season. Perhaps with the much talked about Premier League television rights coming in for 2016/2017 campaign, the prospect of injuries to key players in midweek cup games is too risky.
Sure enough, if Monk and co return from Saturday’s important league game against Southampton at St Mary’s with three points, then arguably, last night’s selection will be justified.
But I can’t help feel, that exact selection went some way to costing Swansea their best chance of landing silverware this season.