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Leeds United: Neil Warnock's up for the cup
9:10pm Wednesday 31st October 2012 in Leeds
Neil Warnock has set his sights firmly on winning the Capital One Cup after his Leeds team took the scalp of another Premier League team in the shape of Southampton.
The veteran boss has often made light of his daughter Amy’s request for him to win the competition this season, but after last night’s 3-0 success, getting to Wembley does not seem as fanciful as it once did.
United are one of three non-Premier League teams left in the competition and a chance of at least a last-four berth is now a genuine possibility, especially if they get a home draw. They have now seen off Everton and Southampton at Elland Road.
And Warnock, who was a regular visitor to the old Wembley but has never manned the touchlines of the new one, is starting to sharpen his focus.
“I want to win it,” he said after goals from Michael Tonge and El-Hadji Diouf and a Luciano Becchio penalty saw off a Southampton side sporting 11 changes from the weekend loss to Tottenham.
“Amy came to the game, she had a word in my ear about it (winning it).
“I thought that right from the off we were at it. I wanted us to enjoy it because if all the games are like our draw with Charlton last week, I would be better off fishing.
“We played some good football. In the second half, when it was 1-0, I said to my assistant Ronnie Jepson that extra-time would kill us, because you thought Southampton would always have that chance.
“But we didn’t sit back and we should have scored more goals.”
On a night when his side made few mistakes, Warnock singled out Luke Varney for special praise.
The well-travelled winger has been a target for the Leeds boo-boys after an indifferent start to his Elland Road career, and the heckling started again when he missed an open goal from a yard with the scores at 0-0.
He produced a man-of-the-match performance after that, though, and Warnock said: “He wasn’t well before the game, he was sick at half-time - and he has been an easy target but I thought he was terrific.”
The same could not be said about any of Southampton’s players.
At the end of a day when the club launched an investigation into allegations that goalkeeper Artur Boruc had thrown a bottle at his own supporters against Tottenham, manager Nigel Adkins shouldered the blame for the defeat.
“We didn’t perform anywhere near what’s expected of a Southampton Football Club team,” he said.
“Forty-eight hours ago we had a high-intensity game and I made the relevant changes. I take full responsibility. We wanted to play tomorrow (Wednesday), but the powers that be wanted it to be tonight.
“But we gave the players who have not been in the team to the chance to show what they could do, and they did not take it.”
Adkins refused to elaborate further on the Boruc case.