Roy Hodgson has had so many nights to forget in the Carling Cup that he admits he cannot even remember the competition's name.
Indeed, Hodgson is also under the mistaken impression he has failed to win a single tie since returning to England almost four years ago. In fact, the West Bromwich manager's record is nearly that bad, with three defeats from four ties at Fulham and Liverpool. It is something he is looking to put right in his first League Cup match since taking over at The Hawthorns when Albion travel to Bournemouth tonight.
"I've yet to win a Carlsberg Cup tie, or whatever you call it," said Hodgson, who spent most of his managerial career on the Continent, yesterday. "I don't even know what it's called and I've yet to win one. So I've got a 100 per cent record since coming back to England. I've played four, lost four, I think."
Hodgson will be expected to improve his record tonight, with a cup shock the last thing the Baggies need after their losing start to the Premier League season. The League Cup is also a route into Europe, an arena in which Hodgson has proved something of a specialist, leading Fulham all the way to the Europa League final just over a year ago.
But, asked if he was hungry for more European football, he said: "I don't know about hungry. It was a hard time there and my goal at West Bromwich Albion is a very, very simple one, and a very clear one. It's a long while – I might go as far to say it'll actually be the first time – that if we come up, stay in the league a year, and stay in the league yet again, that would be the first time in the Premier League. So that's my goal."
That echoes the views of many Premier League managers and explains why Hodgson may make changes tonight.
"It's not always a case of resting players," he said. "I've also got one or two players I actually want to have a look at. "There are people like Graham Dorrans and people like Marek Cech, who are bone fide first-team players who have not had much chance at the moment to show what they can do." PAReuse content