FA Cup: Jose Mourinho and Roberto Martinez defend cup

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Managers on FA Cup importance

Premier League managers have defended the status of the FA Cup after Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert said the competition can prove a hindrance.

Lambert said "survival" in the Premier League was the priority and top-flight managers could do without the cup "if they were being honest".

Chelsea's Jose Mourinho disagreed with the Villa boss and said winning the trophy was one of his "high moments".

Everton manager Roberto Martinez says the FA Cup remains "unique".

The Spaniard won the competition last season with Wigan Athletic before leaving to join the Toffees.

Speaking before Saturday's third-round game with Sheffield United, Lambert was asked whether the FA Cup was something Premier League clubs could do without.

"If they were being honest, they probably would do," Lambert, whose side are six points above the Premier League relegation zone, told BBC WM.

"If you can get through, then absolutely I want to get through, I don't want to not get through, but your main one is the league.

"That is the nature of it. If anyone says any differently, then I am not so sure they will be telling the truth because the Premier League is the most vital thing that anyone wants to get into and we are no different."

Mourinho, who has won the Champions League twice and league titles in four countries, tasted FA Cup success with Chelsea in his first spell at Stamford Bridge, back in 2007.

"Paul has a right to express his opinion and a right to think differently to me," said Mourinho, ahead of his side's trip to Derby County on Sunday.

"For teams without European competition, playing 38 games a season, I don't see a reason for those clubs to not try to win matches.

"Even for the smallest clubs, where it is difficult to reach a final, the FA Cup has a special meaning."

Wigan, under the management of Martinez, became the first team to win the FA Cup and be relegated from the top tier in the same season.

He said he understood Lambert's comments but said choosing between the league and cup was "like asking if you prefer mum or dad".

"Every manager knows what they have got in their squad, but it's a unique competition in its unpredictability with the philosophy that anyone is entitled to chase the dream," said Martinez, whose side face QPR.

Tottenham have won the FA Cup on eight occasions and manager Tim Sherwood says the club owe the competition respect ahead of his side's trip to Arsenal.

He said: "It's a massive competition for this football club, it's got a great tradition and history in this competition and we want to show it the respect. It's huge."

West Ham, three-time winners of the competition, sit in the Premier League's relegation zone ahead of their tie at Nottingham Forest.

Hammers manager Sam Allardyce says his priority is staying in the top flight.

"At the moment, my senior squad comprises about 14 fit players," he said, revealing he will field a number of younger players at the City Ground.

"My view of the competition is that it's fabulous and has great history and tradition. There is no doubt about that.

"But if you are in the position we are and have the injuries that we have, then there is only one major priority at this football club - the Premier League. That won't change for any football club, irrespective of who they are."

The winners of this year's competition will receive £1.8m in prize money.

QPR manager Harry Redknapp, who won the FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008, believes the financial incentives on offer elsewhere have played a part in the competition losing some of its allure.

"The FA Cup was the competition when we were growing up, it was the big highlight of our year," said Redknapp, 66.

"But now, with the Premier League and the money involved, it's become second. We'd be lying if we said otherwise. "