Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas has claimed that the majority of Aston Villa fans, plus manager Dean Smith, would take losing the League Cup final if the fixture with Tottenham Hotspur was "the game to keep you in the Premier League" (Sky Sports News).
Aston Villa are currently fighting for their top-flight survival, sitting 17th in the table, just a point above the bottom three, but they also have a chance of getting their hands on the first major trophy of the season when they take on Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on 1 March.
The argument of whether a team would rather win a trophy and be relegated, or survive in the top flight but finish empty handed is one that has been going for years, and is a controversial and polarising topic.
Looking ahead to Villa's Premier League clash with Tottenham at Villa Park on Sunday, Nicholas told Sky Sports News: "It is needs must in the Premier League for Aston Villa, despite reaching the Carabao Cup final.
"If you were to say to Dean Smith this could be the game to keep you in the Premier League, while you would lose the Carabao Cup final, despite being underdogs anyway, I think he would take it. And I think the majority of Villa fans would too.
"A trophy is important to breed winners and confidence, and gain the credibility that Villa are back, but we have seen before that teams have won it and have gone down. The global interest is in the Premier League, so they have to go after it."
Villa's Second City rivals Birmingham City famously won the League Cup in 2011 with victory over Arsenal, but were relegated from the Premier League at the end of that season, and have not been in the top flight since.
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