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Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer is the Premier League's all-time top scorer with 260 goals and a leading TV pundit from the BBC's flagship football programme Match of the Day. Euro '96 Golden Boot winner Alan will be sharing his thoughts on all things football every week throughout the 2016/17 season.

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Alan Shearer says top clubs have “bigger fish to fry than the League Cup”

Coral’s own Simon Clare spoke exclusively to football ambassador Alan Shearer to get his thoughts on the League Cup.

The third round draw made this week sees top Premier League clubs enter this competition, now known as the EFL Cup having dropped the Capital One sponsorship.

Alan is honest about how big teams treat this, but highlights however seriously or not sides take it there’s usually one of the very best at the business end…

“Big clubs only take it seriously from the quarter-finals”

As a footballer you want to win any trophy that is going, and the EFL Cup is another piece of silverware, but in reality the big clubs only take it seriously from the quarter-final stage.

Liverpool v Manchester City - Capital One Cup - Final - Wembley Stadium

It’s a money-making exercise for the smaller clubs taking part, which is great. The ones that are left in it have now got some decent draws with the big boys.

But with regard to the bigger clubs, they have bigger fish to fry than the League Cup and that also goes for clubs that are in a relegation battle.

The Premier League is simply much more important which is why the vast majority of clubs rest players in the competition, in the early rounds at least.

Chelsea and Liverpool have other priorities

Yes, big clubs like Chelsea and Liverpool don’t have European football this season. But Chelsea’s priority will not be to win the League Cup, it will be to get into the top four, and try and win the Premier League.

I saw they rested players the other night and gave players who’d sat on the bench for the first two or three games a run out. That tells you all you need to know about what they think of the competition.

Play-Off Finals Preview

That said when you look at the size and the quality of the squads the Premier League these days, they’re still not shabby teams they are putting out. Most have spent a fortune this summer so whatever team they put out, whilst it won’t be their first choice starting eleven, will still be a good side.

It’s still nearly always a big club that wins the League Cup because once those that are still in get a sniff of winning it come the quarter-final stage, they want to then go all the way and win it.

Newcastle eased through the other night but they haven’t had a run in any cup competition for a while now so it will be great if they can do something in this competition. But again Newcastle’s priority this season will be getting back into the Premier League.

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Visit the Shearer says archive for more of Alan’s opinions.