London, Oct 23 (IANS) Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on Friday that he would “cry” if the English Premier League (EPL) introduced a break during the festive season.
While the other domestic leagues in Europe give the players a break during the Christmas period, it is one of the busiest times of the season in the EPL. Domestic leagues in major European football powers like Spain, Italy, France and Germany all have a winter break.
This season, Arsenal are supposed to play seven games from December 13 to January 16.
Although several managers have complained that the hectic schedule tires out the players, Wenger asserted that it is one of the unique qualities of football in England.
“It is part of English tradition and English football. I want to go on with it,” Wenger was quoted as saying by the BBC.
“The whole of Europe come to watch football on Boxing Day. It is an important part for us to being popular in the world. At Christmas, nobody works in the world and everybody watches the Premier League,” he added. “I would cry if you changed that.”
“I (would) always (be) pleased for a break after 1 January but we have to keep this tradition alive.”
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal had termed the lack of a break in winter as one of the reasons behind the poor performance of English clubs and the England national team at the international level. Wenger however, begged to differ.
“I have a lot of respect for Louis van Gaal, but I don’t agree with him on that,” said Wenger. “Maybe I have been in England such a long time and had the same ideas as him when I first came but today I would cry if you changed that because it’s part of English tradition and English football.”
Wenger suggested giving teams a rest after New Year’s day as an alternative. “I want to go on with it. I always pleaded for a break after January 1, but we have to keep this tradition alive,” he remarked.