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Premier League: Allardyce to enforce winter breaks for West Ham players

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is considering enforcing winter breaks to his key players to avoid burnout.

The Hammers have stared this season in impressive form and sit fourth after last weekend's 2-1 victory over reigning Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City.

However, Allardyce is worried that some of the club’s new signings face growing fatigue during the busy Christmas period when they are used to winter breaks at their previous clubs.

"The games come so thick and fast you are pushing to get them back when they are not really ready but you have to," said Allardyce.

"The squad still has to be fitter than now going into that period. New players - particularly Enner Valencia, (Diafra) Sakho, (Cheikhou) Kouyate, (Mauro) Zarate won't have hit that cauldron of mental and physical output during that particular period. All of those normally have a break.

"If they fatigue and they need a rest, the rest of the squad has to be fit for us to give them that rest."

Allardyce insisted he would have no qualms following in the footsteps of former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson in giving players a break to maintain their peak fitness as the games stack up.

"I remember speaking to Alex many years ago about the fact he used to send players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani away at Christmas: 'Off you go, go away for a week, back to Portugal, have a rest'," he said.

"They were finding it difficult to cope with that period so he gave them a rest and then brought them back in and they kick on.

"If we leave them out, we leave them out. You know, all you lot say 'why should he leave him out, it's a disgrace leaving him out when he's playing so well'.

"It's not your decision, it's mine and I do the job properly because I know what I'm doing.

"If you take Enner Valencia's load, for instance, he goes to Mexico and is an outstanding success, plays a lot of games, scores 18 goals, he plays internationals, breaks into the international team.

"He trains with the international squad, plays international friendlies before the World Cup, plays the World Cup, has a few weeks off, comes to England for the first time, has a late pre-season, gets in the team, stays in the team and between that he's gone and played four games back in South America."

Allardyce's sports science department would be in a position to decide whether players like Valencia were in need of a rest, even if the boss would expect the individuals to want to stay in the side.

He added: "Enner would say 'No, I don't want to'. That's what he'd say. I'm sure he'd say that. But it's not their decision.

"We can see their fatigue levels quite easily - and their mental fatigue. That's another one. That's sometimes bigger than physical fatigue.

"We can certainly monitor physical fatigue easier than mental fatigue because it is in our data every day.

"He will start slowing down, he won’t be running as far or sprinting as much. He won't be as active as he is and those red flashes will start coming up if that is the case. They might not, let's hope it doesn't but it may and we have to guard for that."


Headlines for West Ham this week

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  • Premier League: Allardyce to enforce winter breaks for West Ham players


  • West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is considering enforcing winter breaks to his key players to avoid burnout.

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