Belfast Telegraph

Give us a break - O'Neill

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill has backed calls for English football to introduce a winter break.

As snow fell on Wearside with the 59-year-old and his players finalising their preparations for Sunday's Barclays Premier League trip to Tottenham, he extolled the benefits of the system he encountered during his time in Scotland.

O'Neill said: "My personal view is that I would love to see it happen, even for a week or two because psychologically, I believe when you start off the season, it's pretty long and it gives you something to think about during that time."

He added: "Even if it was only for a fortnight, I think psychologically, it would help everyone, that's my view.

"When we were in Scotland, I experienced it twice in the five years I was there and one of those years, Celtic reached the UEFA Cup final. I didn't think it was a coincidence myself.

"That's my own view. I have always felt that - still play your new year games, still have that, still have the old tradition of playing Christmas and new year, but after the third round of the FA Cup, maybe take a break then.

"Psychologically, it would be brilliant for Premier League players, and also as Sir Alex Ferguson says, players get tired at the end of the season and are then expected to play in either the big European Championships or the World Cup.

"I think it would help."


From Belfast Telegraph