O’Neill in favour of winter break

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Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has thrown his weight behind the idea of introducing a Premier League winter break.

Following England's disappointing World Cup campaign, many players were thought to have been suffering from the effects of a long season and the Northern Irishman feels it would be beneficial if it was placed on the calendar.

When coach at Scottish giants Celtic, O'Neill was sure the break north of the border was a major reason for their excellent UEFA Cup final exploits in 2003.

Speaking to reporters, he said:"I am a great believer in it and I think it is important. But I am not controlling affairs.

"People assume it causes a loss of impetus but that's absolutely not the case. You would still have Boxing Day and New Year games and then you have the break – for about three weeks.

"It gives the players a chance to get away with their families. They feel much better for it. It was so beneficial.

"One of the years when we had the break in Scotland, Celtic went on to reach the UEFA Cup final.

"I genuinely believe the winter break was of great benefit for us."

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