Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Eriksson calls for Premier League winter break

Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has said the Premier League must introduce a winter break if the national side are to be successful at major tournaments.

Current incumbent Fabio Capello spoke of the need for a break in his final press conference before England departed South Africa on Monday.





The Three Lions had been tipped as one of the favourites for the World Cup but a string of poor performances culminated in Sunday's 4-1 thumping at the hands of old foes Germany in the last 16.





Speaking on the Victoria Derbyshire programme on Radio Five Live, Eriksson said: "I don't think there is anything wrong with English football. The only thing I was fighting for (when I was in charge) was a winter break, but because of money the Premier League never accepted that.





"England is the only country in Europe without a break and when it comes to these big tournaments they are suffering for it."





Eriksson was also asked if he had been approached about returning to the Premier League with Fulham, with the Cottagers' current boss Roy Hodgson expected to be unveiled as Liverpool manager within the next 24 hours.





"I have heard some rumours but there are absolutely no facts behind it," said the Swede. "I think they have a brilliant manager and I do not know if he is staying or, as rumoured, going to Liverpool, but so far I have heard nothing."





But Eriksson, who took charge of the Ivory Coast in South Africa, reiterated his desire to work in England's top flight again.





He said: " It's a dream for every manager going into the Premier League, it is the best league in the world."



Of his own experiences in South Africa, Eriksson felt Ivory Coast were very unfortunate not to advance beyond the group stages, where they were handed a tough draw with Brazil, Portugal and North Korea.



"We were not lucky," said the 62-year-old.





"(Didier) Drogba got injured days before the World Cup. He could play but he was not at 100 per cent.





"We had a difficult group but I think we played good football and I am proud of the players. We played good, organised football with good discipline. I think a team like Ivory Coast will have a big future."





The former Manchester City boss is also pleased to see Ghana flying the flag for the host continent by reaching the quarter-finals.





"It's good for the whole of Africa that one team can go as long as possible," he said.



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