West Ham Boss To Enforce Winter Breaks

Sam Allardyce is willing to incur the wrath of West Ham supporters by enforcing winter breaks for his key players.

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

Many of West Ham’s new signings have settled into life at Upton Park and have played a part in leading Allardyce’s side into the Champions League places.

But the 60-year-old is worried a number of those new recruits face burnout during the busy Christmas period when they are used to winter breaks in their previous leagues.

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

“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 wont 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.”

It would be brave of Allardyce to rest his better players as he looks for better form heading into the winter period having endured one of his darkest spells as a manager last year.

A chronic injury list saw West Ham win just one league game between the end of November and mid-January with heavy defeats in both the FA Cup and Capital One Cup.

“I don’t think we should start predicting where we should and shouldn’t be (at the end of the season),” he added.

“We have still got November and December to compete with and historically it has been our worst time of the season since I have been here.

“I am waiting till we get through that period and have a better indication on where the possibilities of where we might finish.”

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.