Jose Mourinho will get the chance to win his first major trophy as Manchester United manager on Sunday when his side play Southampton in the EFL Cup Final at Wembley.
After beating Leicester City in August’s Community Shield curtain-raiser, Mourinho is on course to win his fourth League Cup after last claiming the silverware in 2015 with Chelsea.
For Southampton, the final offers Claude Puel the opportunity to claim a cup in his maiden campaign as well; the Frenchman has overseen a gradual improvement at the club after a slow start to the season – which included a 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford – after replacing Ronald Koeman.
The Saints are now in 11th and fighting hard for a top-half finish which, after a change of management and losing Victor Wanyama and Graziano Pelle in the summer, would represent a steady outcome for their French manager.
Their chances are likely to be boosted by injuries to two key United players. Both Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Michael Carrick left the mid-week game in Saint-Etienne early and are unlikely to be fit.
This could open the door for Wayne Rooney to earn a squad place after the captain confirmed yesterday that he will not be leaving for China before the summer transfer window, while he has returned to training after a lay-off.
Southampton will be relying on the impressive form of new signing Manolo Gabbiadini to fire them to victory – the Italian has scored three goals in his first two appearances since signing from Napoli.