Villa boss wants winter break

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Martin O'Neill has backed England coach Fabio Capello's call for a winter break in the Barclays Premier League.

Capello felt tiredness was a major factor in England's disappointing World Cup campaign and believes the players would have benefited from a spell of non-action in mid-season. Aston Villa boss O'Neill has first hand experience of the benefits of a break from his time at Celtic and would welcome the same situation in this country.

"My own view is there should be a winter break. I think it would be a fantastic thing," he said. "I believe it would give everyone a lift in January."

He added: "We had it for a couple of years in the Scottish Premier League and we all got great benefit from it.

"I am a great believer in it and I think it is important. But I am not controlling affairs."

O'Neill added: "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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